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How Did You Learn New Aspects of Infection Prevention? – Catherine Kroll

The trajectory of embarking on a career in Infection Prevention often comes with a steep learning curve, a reality candidly shared by Catherine Kroll, MPH, CIC, in her recent conversation with Jacob Hutcherson for Voice for Infection Prevention. As the current System Director for Infection Prevention at PeaceHealth, Kroll’s journey epitomizes the blend of curiosity and hands-on learning pivotal in mastering the diverse aspects of this crucial field. The discussion, moderated by Hutcherson, the Founder and CEO of Clutch Recruitment—the leading recruiting firm in Infection Prevention and Control, offered a glimpse into the practical and often unforeseen aspects of the profession.

One of the enriching narratives shared by Kroll revolved around her proactive approach to learning and adapting in her early days in Infection Prevention. She recounts the significance of active listening and the relentless pursuit of understanding unfamiliar terminologies and practices crucial to the role. A simple, yet effective practice of jotting down unknown terms, researching them, and engaging in humble inquiry significantly propelled her understanding forward.

Kroll’s narrative resonated particularly when she delved into the unexpected challenges encountered, like grappling with construction-related tasks—a testament to the multifaceted nature of Infection Prevention. Coming from a background where her father was a contractor provided her with a baseline understanding, yet the nuances of when and how to erect barriers or modify structural elements in a healthcare setting were learning curves she navigated.

The collaborative essence of Infection Prevention shone through as Kroll described daily interactions with facilities teams, ensuring the physical environment aligns with infection control standards. This collaboration extends beyond structural concerns, enveloping clinical practices where shadowing seasoned professionals played a pivotal role in her learning journey.

Kroll’s recount also shed light on the invaluable mentorship she received. The advice to immerse oneself in the field, observe, question, and discuss real-time scenarios with mentors provided a solid foundation for practical understanding and continuous improvement. Her narrative underscored that a proactive, inquiry-driven approach, coupled with effective mentorship, is instrumental in not only navigating the initial learning curve but also in fostering a culture of continuous learning and improvement in Infection Prevention practices.

This exchange between Kroll and Hutcherson underscores the dynamic and collaborative nature of Infection Prevention. It offers aspiring Infection Preventionists a pragmatic glimpse into the profession, emphasizing the importance of an inquisitive mindset, effective mentorship, and the readiness to delve into the diverse responsibilities the role entails. Through sharing her journey, Kroll exemplifies a pathway of continuous learning and adaptation, quintessential for those aiming to make a significant impact in the realm of Infection Prevention and Control.

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