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How Did You Become an Infection Prevention Professional? – Chris Zirges

In a heartfelt dialogue for Voice for Infection Prevention, Chris Zirges DNP, ACSN-BC, CIC, FAPIC, the System Director of Infection Prevention at SSM Health, recounted her unconventional yet enriching journey to the helm of Infection Prevention to host Jacob Hutcherson, the founder and CEO of Clutch Recruitment. Her narrative illuminates the unpredictable yet rewarding pathways that can lead to a fulfilling career in Infection Prevention.

Zirges, initially a trauma nurse, navigated through diverse nursing roles, from cardiac and pulmonary rehab to home healthcare, and even venturing into organizational development. Her openness to embrace diverse opportunities, even when they seemed unrelated to her core expertise, played a pivotal role in her career trajectory. The experiences amassed along the way would later become invaluable assets as she transitioned into the realm of Infection Prevention.

Her entry into Infection Prevention was serendipitous, spurred by a vacancy that emerged while she was serving as a heart transplant coordinator. Although initially a part-time engagement, her role in Infection Prevention evolved into a full-time endeavor, marking the onset of a two-decade-long journey that culminated in her current leadership position.

Zirges’ narrative is a testament to the expansive opportunities that lie in the field of Infection Prevention, often in the most unexpected circumstances. Her story underscores the importance of adaptability, continuous learning, and the willingness to step outside one’s comfort zone in navigating a fulfilling career.

Her dialogue with Hutcherson offers a rich perspective, particularly for healthcare professionals contemplating a shift into Infection Prevention. It encapsulates a message of hope and encouragement, showcasing that with a receptive mindset and a quest for learning, one can not only transition into Infection Prevention but ascend to influential leadership roles, making significant contributions to enhancing patient safety and healthcare quality.

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