Gaining a certification in infection prevention and control offers infection preventionists (IPs) several personal and professional advantages. The Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. (CBIC) offers the Certification in Infection Prevention and Control (CIC) credentials for healthcare professionals who have mastered essential fundamental knowledge in infection prevention and control. As of 2013, 47 percent of infection preventionists had received the CIC designation and another 31 percent were pursuing certification .
Why is infection prevention certification valuable?
It’s good for your career—Pursuing a certification signals you are committed to your professional growth and focused on improving your skills in infection prevention and control. Certification is a critical step in the professional growth model developed by the Association for Practitioners in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC). APIC encourages all members to gain certification and to continue learning and refreshing their skills through the recertification process that is required every five years. The certification examination assumes a level of experience, generally two years of full-time work, in the field. Many positions in infection prevention now specify certification as a job requirement for new hires.
It verifies your skills for healthcare organizations—As healthcare organizations face increasing pressure to minimize and report healthcare associated infections (HAIs), the role of an IP has become more critical. Hospitals and healthcare systems trust that those working in infection prevention have achieved a degree of competency demonstrated by the CIC designation and will make a significant contribution to patient safety.
Certified infection preventionists manage better infection prevention programs—There are evidence-based reasons why healthcare organizations prefer certified infection preventionists. One study in the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC) found that board certification in infection prevention increases the effectiveness of an infection prevention program. Certified IPs are 2 to 3 times more likely to correctly determine the strength of evidence supporting various infection prevention control practices than their non-certified colleagues. According to study co-author Russell Olmstead, MPH, CIC, “This study adds to mounting evidence that suggests that CIC may lead to greater evidence-based practice, which may result in the reduction of both healthcare-associated infections and hospital costs” . Rates for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) blood stream infections are lower in hospitals with infection prevention programs led by certified IPs than in those where non-certified professionals head the programs .
Have you obtained certification? What benefits have you found from receiving CIC or other professional certifications? Let us know in the comments below.
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Saint S, et al. Perceived strength of evidence supporting practices to prevent healthcare-associated infection: results from a national survey of infection prevention personnel. AJIC 2013; 41:100-106.