Infection Prevention and Control
Pamela G. O'Connor
BSN, MHS, CIC (BSN, '71)
2010 Distinguished Alumna
Many of our nurses have several careers. O'Connor had a career in 1) Public Health [1971-1974]; 2) psych nursing [1974-Sheridan VA and again 1978-80 Boise VA]; 3) education: breast cancer education & screening ; Cancer education in 1976-77; 4) hospital staff nursing [Sheridan 74, Boise 77-78); and then (5) Infection Prevention & Control: 1987-present.
What drew you to the nursing career of Infection Prevention and Control?
I was drawn to Infection Prevention and Control as a natural progression of hospital nursing during my career with the Veteran's Administration (VA). I REALLY enjoyed microbiology and organisms and was fascinated with AIDS and HIV in veteran patients (new to us at the VA).
How did you prepare for it?
I audited Microbiology (20 years after I took it in my BSN program!) at Boise State University; studied for and passed certification course (CIC) "Certified in Infection Control"; and worked with Infectious Disease specialist, pharmacy and laboratory staff regarding Infection Control.
What do you like the most about this career?
This career is always changing and challenging with new diseases and new antibiotics and new resistances noted from cultures and laboratories. I also liked working with Dr. Dennis Stevens, Infectious Disease and Group A Strep expert and world consultant!
What are the biggest challenges?
Keeping updated with all the new information!!
What advice would you have for a student interested in this field?
NEVER stop studying, stay curious, engaged and challenged! Seek out advice whenever, wherever you need it! Don't be afraid to ask!
Here's the write-up about OConnor when our school named her 2010 Distinguished Alumna:
Pam Groshart began her career as a public health nurse in Cheyenne. Her interest in education was initiated in that position, as she held classes in family planning, prenatal, well baby, immunization and sexually transmitted disease clinics. After working in psychiatric care and medical-surgical units in Sheridan, she then became the project director of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana Mountain States Regional Medical Program. Here she educated 100 medical doctors and 250 registered nurses, who in turn worked with 2500 women in about 50 clinics. When that project ended, Pam became the public education director of the Idaho division of the American Cancer Society. Before she retired, she spent 20 years working as an infection control nurse for the Veteran's Administration (VA). This role covered the hospital, extended care facility, outpatient clinics, and home care. After retiring from the VA, Pam started Infection Prevention and Control Consultants, LLC.
Pam earned a Master of Health Science degree from Boise State University in 2003 and is certified in infection control (CIC) and has been since 1992.
Pam has published several reports and presented to the Annual Education Conference of the Infection Control Nurses Association of the United Kingdom in Brighton, England. She belongs to relevant professional organizations and volunteers in the community.