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APIC President: IPs Facing Onslaught of Epidemics are ‘Living History’

In an age of epidemics and emerging infections, the new normal for infection prevention is an “unending series of challenges” that require interprofessional partnerships and learning from mistakes, said Mary Lou Manning, PhD, CRNP, CIC, president of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

Delivering a keynote address recently in Nashville at the annual APIC conference, Manning cited some of the infections and outbreaks that have come in waves at the profession: severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus (2002-2003); H1N1 pandemic influenza A (2009); Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus (ongoing); Enterovirus D68 (2014), the return of measles and certainly Ebola (both ongoing).

“And this has been within the backdrop of every single thing that we do every day to begin with,” said Manning, director of the doctor of nursing practice program at Thomas Jefferson University School of Nursing in Lafayette Hill, PA. “So these new challenges are placed on top of what we already have. That is the new normal. It seems like it is just accelerating.”

Enduring partnerships must be formed with a wide variety of colleagues to meet the continual challenge of the next crisis. “The work of the infection prevention team, while very specialized cannot be performed independently,” she told some 4300 APIC attendees. “We need all of the professions. The work requires multiple healthcare workers from different professional backgrounds working together with patients, with families, with communities and organizations. [We must call on] lots of others in order to do our work, and that is to deliver safe quality care free from infection. Ultimately it is about the patients that come into our care every single solitary day. That is our mission – [keep them] free from infection."

For more on the this story see the August 2015 issue of Hospital Infection Control & Prevention.