Rachel Williams, CIH

Rachel Williams, CIH

"A fellow CIH sent me an article the other day entitled “Carving a Niche for Industrial Hygiene in Health Care (http://knowledgeatwork.com/tracker/industrial-hygiene-healthcare/).” This article hit close to home for me, as it would for many Industrial Hygienists in the Healthcare Industry. What is the role as an IH in Healthcare? Does being a CIH add value to a position that is often times undervalued in healthcare? And furthermore, does this bring value to an IH in the federal government, where certifications are often overlooked and undervalued?

As a young Industrial Hygienist, I strived to achieve the CIH early on in my career. Despite my efforts and unlike many private industries, the government did not financially support my endeavor. Achieving the CIH was not going to give me a higher rank in my current position. What I knew it would give me was a sense of accomplishment towards bettering myself as a professional. What I did not know it would give me was a sense of confidence I had never experienced as a professional. Nurses, doctors, engineers, and contractors were now seeing my credentials and looking at me in a new light. Suddenly I am the expert in mold, lead, and asbestos. They turned to me for answers to challenging indoor air quality questions that were once left to Infection Control nurses and doctors. As an introvert that has always strived to gain extrovert qualities, this has meant a chance to expand not only my Industrial Hygiene skills, but also my personal development skills. If you presented me with the timid IH that first entered the federal government in 2007 and put them next to the CIH that stands before you in 2013, you would surely notice the difference in knowledge, confidence and poise.

Does the CIH make a difference? To some that still think of Industrial Hygiene in healthcare as fit testing techs, possibly not; But to me, the answer is absolutely yes. I will only continue to gain confidence as my education broadens and my knowledge diversifies in the field of Industrial Hygiene."