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How Did you Become an Infection Prevention Professional? – Rashida Conway

Rashida Conway, Director of Infection Prevention at Kaiser Permanente, unveils her transformative journey from an ER nurse to a crucial player in infection prevention in a conversation with Jacob Hutcherson, Founder and CEO of Clutch Recruitment. This transition, marked by relentless learning and an unwavering commitment to patient safety, unfolded against the backdrop of an escalating pandemic.

Beginning her career in a high-acuity ER in San Bernardino, California, Rashida’s initial foray into process improvement and quality projects opened a new realm of healthcare understanding. Her involvement in a project aimed at reducing Foley catheter insertions in the ER piqued her interest in infection prevention, a field she soon realized held the potential to significantly impact patient outcomes.

As she transitioned into an Infection Preventionist (IP) role, the stakes were immediately heightened when her manager departed, leaving her as the sole IP for a 342-bed facility with two ambulatories. The ensuing pandemic further amplified the demands of her role, pushing her into a steep learning curve. Despite being relatively new to the field, Rashida found herself navigating high-level disinfection procedures, construction-related infection control, and pandemic response measures.

Her narrative reveals the profound learning and responsibilities embedded in the IP role, extending from ensuring quality air in the facility to directly impacting patient care. The challenges of the pandemic, coupled with the inherent complexity of infection prevention, fueled both her passion and apprehension. However, the value of her contributions in ensuring safe, effective, and quality care for patients reinforced her dedication to the field.

Now with nearly six years in the profession, Rashida reflects on her growth with a sense of gratitude for the myriad opportunities that honed her expertise. Her story illustrates the boundless learning landscape of infection prevention, and the pivotal role IPs play in safeguarding healthcare quality, especially in the face of unforeseen challenges like a global pandemic.

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