Week One…reflections

Wow.  What an adventure ride.

I have finally finished my first week as an Infection preventionist.  I really did almost nothing to prevent infection, as I went to our “parent” facility for training.

It is going to be a big adjustment.  On Friday though, I started to feel as if I had made the correct decision for work.  And I will explain that all as I write.

So prior to Monday my career, for 11 years has looked a bit like this:

or This:      SO you can see pretty much, I dealt with patients 

and a lot of equipment.  I also worked really closely with

lots and lots of staff.  Since my background is in Critical

Care…we pretty much interact with Radiology, Respiratory,

Physical Therapy, the PICC team, Spiritual care, Case Management, Multitudes of physician teams, and students….you name it.





Literally within about 48 hours My new Job looks sort of different…

A lot like this:

Notice how happy that lady looks!!!

I also sometimes look like this:

And also This

SO Huge change.

I started out on Monday in the office of the Medical Director, feeling completely clueless.  He gave me some advice and started to give me tips on how to manage my email.  (I mean like to put it in folders etc).  I realize now that my predecessor really had a lack of organization.   One of the biggest expectations he has is for there to be an organized system in the Infection Prevention area of the hospital.  I thought, grandiosely, that he wanted me to build a database of all the stuff.  But NO.  He indicated that colored folders would be appropriate.  I hope I can manage that!  I then went to our parent hospital and met with their head person.  A very reserved and nice fellow.  I was handed a HUGE binder.  and then we discussed this and that, and I spent the afternoon trying to get acclimated to our electronic surveillance system.  I had that horrible feeling that one can get when overwhelmed.  I felt a little dizzy most of the day and worried that I’d say the wrong thing.

After that, I attempted Speed work in the 80 degree heat.  It was only semi-successful.  Partly because I was tired and partly because it was super HOT.   So UGH on trying to fit it all in.  I felt a bit like a failure.

Tuesday I was scheduled to be with a Microbiologist who does Infection Prevention at the hospital. I will call her Jane! I had not met her so I was nervous.  Most of the ICP people on Monday were dressed to the nines and that in and of itself intimidated me.

Jane was Wonderful!  She was very good about getting me involved and allowing me to work in the surveillance system.  She also shared so many resources with me and burned me a CD of all sorts of tools and references I will need.  She made me feel completely at home and I was able to ask lots of questions.  She gave me a lot of reassurance that I could do this job.  So on Tuesday  felt Great!

Wednesday- I worked with a woman whom I shall term Barbie!  Barbie looks impeccable…not really like Barbie, but her clothing is perfect, her hair was perfect…nothing out of place.  I can not imagine this woman ever needing to go to the bathroom urgently, or sweating, or anything improper.  She turned out to be a really neat person.  She is responsible for the Operating Rooms, so we did a lot of discussion of Surgical Site infections.  She had a ton of resources for prevention that I know are not being used yet at our hospital and she shared that all with me as well.  We went through the surveillance again and things started to fall together. At the beginning of the day Barbie seemed a little unsure of how this would go for me, but by the end of the day she was saying, “Oh you are getting it now…yes this will be alright”….

Thursday:  I worked with another Nurse, Granola Woman.  She was really different from the rest and I discovered later that she is very shy.  She and I tackled and detangled a very complicated surgical site infection.  I started to again feel a little bit worried.  We ended up having to ask another IP to review the case because it was so convolouted.  In the end we eel we got the classification and reporting correct.   I then sat with another woman, who showed me how to report the diseases that get reported to the Health Department.  I was able to go home and felt less tired and ran 4.84 miles. I was supposed to run 4.97 but I think the difference if minimal.

Friday: I had felt like I was getting things.  I came in early to work on my hospital’s surveillance.  And I was able to do most of it correctly.  Sheree was the nurse that day and she helped me run through 2 more cases that were very time consuming.  We then realized that the HUGE book they had given me was sort of too cumbersome and so I spent some time splitting the book into seperate binders…those with policies and those with criteria.  After that I met with the Director again and we discussed ways to work on all of the other things that I will oversee.  I stopped having that overwhelmed feeling.

So why am I so happy about this?

Well, I really enjoy the surveillance.  I get to go and look at everything that is happened to a patient during their stay and put all the pieces together to make a picture of what’s happened…

I feel a little like a medical/microbe detective.  I’ve always loved challenges like this, and now it’s my actual job to look through and gather information in this way!  Neat!

the Second part of my job is working with Staff to decrease our levels of infection within our system.  Lucky for me things appear to be well under control. More on that as I get to the hospital.

So it’s interesting!  I love it!!!!  My main things will be to get over my fear of the administrators at our hospital and to just get things done.    And to get my running back on track.  I barely have time to think about it, so I am now at the gym, thinking about microbes….what a change.


5 thoughts on “Week One…reflections

  1. It sounds to me as if this is going to be a great fit for you.
    Coming out of the Critical Care area means you have a lot of inter-departmental experience that should really be useful.
    There is always a learning curve, but I think you are well up on it.

    • Thanks Lauowolf! for some reason your comment went to SPAM. there is nothing SPAMMY about you!!!! I have really been enjoying the actual work, and now that I have had a bit of time to think on it…I feel I can achieve most of it. I just have to get back to the home turf and be patient and see how things go….

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