Diane Cullen, RN, MSN
I recently completed my MSN at Loyola University Chicago with a major in Population-Based Infection Control and Environmental Safety. I believe that to become the best at something you must not only have a practical knowledge and skills, but have a sound theoretical foundation as well. I saw the online IP program at Loyola as the perfect way of achieving both while balancing a full-time career and raising three children.
I loved the flexibility of the online classes in the IP program. I was able to manage my career as an infection preventionist at a long-term acute care hospital, attend my children’s activities and complete my studies without losing too much sleep. Classes were challenging, yet I felt exhilarated to step outside of my comfort zone and learn so much about microbiology/immunology, epidemiology, infection prevention, nursing theory, research and nursing leadership ... just to name a few topics!
The faculty and preceptors challenged me to go beyond what I already knew. I was so inspired by my research class at Loyola that I sought out funding and developed a research project, “Clear the Clutter,” which studied the impact on MRSA and VRE by removing clutter from high-touch areas in patient rooms.
The support of the Loyola nursing faculty for this project was amazing. Dr. Ida Androwich was a particular inspiration. She helped guide me in all facets of the research and has acted as a wonderful mentor and coach. I completed the project as well as my MSN and am deeply grateful to Loyola for giving me opportunities to grow in my career.