Can you believe that next week we’ll be heading into June? I truly have no clue where the first 5 months of this year have gone. For those of us in the North American Infection Prevention community, June signifies the highlight of our year – it’s conference time! I’m fortunate enough to get the opportunity to attend both the APIC and IPAC-Canada conferences. I will say though, that I’m not looking forward to my red eye back to Toronto from Portland and only being at home for less than 28 hrs before I head off to Charlottetown for the IPAC-Canada conference. Regardless of how tired I will be, the line-up of speakers and topics looks amazing - and I’m not just saying that because I was lucky enough to be chosen to present at the APIC conference!
Education and networking is vitally important to our ability to keep up with the ever changing world of infection prevention. Whether we’re concerned with learning more about the newest pathogens of concern such as Candida auris, looking for a faster and safer way to disinfect the surfaces in our environments, finding an automated way to monitor hand hygiene or figure out how to reprocess that new medical device that just showed up in your OR, there is always something to learn and always that pearl of wisdom or nugget of knowledge that you can take back to your team. A good conference should also have some controversies. I’m not talking about fisticuffs or hair pulling, but a good old fashion debate and difference of opinions. Some of my favorite sessions I have attended over the years are ‘debates’ where the session pits two people against each other taking opposing sides of the argument. The first such session I saw was at the IFIC conference in Malta back in 2003. I’m not going to name the speakers but there was “Pro-Disinfection” and an “Anti-Disinfection” speaker, and WOW being only 6 months into my career in the world of infection prevention I was both star struck and mind boggled with the polar differences in opinion.
I’m not sure now almost 14 years later, that the same debate could be had, as a lot has transpired with respect to our understanding of the importance and impact that environmental hygiene has on our infection prevention programs. One thing that I can still say exists even after all of these years is the seemingly endless myths and misconceptions about disinfectants. Looking back through my files, I found an article I wrote back in 2008 – Myths and Facts about Infection Prevention that I would like to say we’ve been able to bust the beliefs of many about who are responsible for infection prevention and how we can all benefit from understanding how pathogens are transmitted. I’m sad to say that some of the myths about disinfectants still hold true. In fact my “protégé” wrote a blog – The Infection Prevention Army Dispels Disinfection Myths - this week on myths we still routinely hear about and try to educate against.
If you check out the Insights Blog you might also be wondering who this Microbe Militia is! You’ll have to stay tuned for the next 3 weeks as we slowly unveil our newest education campaign and if you’re at APIC or IPAC-Canada, you’ll get to see it firsthand!