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Infection Preventionists: Merging Personal and Professional Growth with APIC Competency Model

In an insightful discussion on the professional progression in the field of infection prevention, Deksha Taneja, MHA, BDS, CIC, HACP, LTC-CIP, provides key insights. Taneja, who currently holds the position of System Director of Infection Prevention at Adventist Health, Southern California, is set to become the President of the Greater Los Angeles APIC (GLA) for the term 2024-25, and also serves as Secretary for GLA till 2023-24.

She provides a comprehensive understanding of the infection prevention career ladder in a presentation with her local Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) chapter. Taneja’s perspective on this complex professional ladder is informed by her own experiences as an infection preventionist and the insights she garnered while climbing it. The highlight of her presentation at the GLA annual conference was the concept of merging personal and professional journeys with the APIC Competency Model.

This model, Taneja believes, offers a precise roadmap for career growth for infection preventionists. To further explain her philosophy, Taneja elucidates her personal approach, an acronym she calls ‘PROACTIVE’, a confluence of Partnership, Resourcefulness, Optimization, Alignment, Curiosity, Teamwork, Initiative, Validation, And Effective Communication.

However, Taneja doesn’t shy away from discussing the daunting challenges that IPs face, particularly stress and burnout. In her communication with stressed IPs, she encourages deep introspection, attempting to identify the root cause of their stress – it could be an unfinished project, lack of resources, a lack of support, or the responsibility of their job role.

There’s no denying the potential impact of stress on patient care and personal life, which could lead to burnout. According to Taneja, IPs should ask themselves if their job brings them genuine fulfillment. If the answer is no, they should reevaluate their goals and look for alternative ways to achieve them. Taneja’s insights also extend towards preventing burnout by creating a supportive and less-stressful work environment.


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