preventing the spread of infection in healthcare settings has been a crucial aspect of healthcare as healthcare associated infections (hais) are among the most widely reported adverse events in hospitals, and they are associated with large morbidity and mortality rates. the emergence of new infectious agents and rapid changes in the way healthcare is delivered make infection prevention and control a high priority area. it is intended to provide protection to patients as well as health care workers.
an infection control nurse is primarily responsible for determining and preventing infectious outbreaks in various healthcare settings like hospitals and clinics. they oversee the sanitation procedures being used by other nurses and healthcare staff, examine patients' bacteria to determine if there are any infections that may have resulted from the patient's health care, and create sanitation plans. as a first step to becoming an infection prevention nurse, you will be required to earn one of the following degrees:
associate of science in nursing (asn): this is normally a two year program which will provide you with basic clinical knowledge and skills required for nursing practice.
bachelor of science in nursing (bsn): this degree program is typically four years long. it also focuses on some advanced theories and leadership curriculum.
in order to start practicing as a professional nurse, you will have to pass the national council licensure examination (nclex) in order to become a licensed registered nurse (rn). the license will have to be renewed after every five years. in addition to passing the licensing exam, you could enhance your career prospects and indicate commitment to your field by taking the infection control certification exam, which is administered by the certification board of infection control and epidemiology.
although some nurses get relevant knowledge and training on the job, there are many institutes that offer infection control nursing programs. these range from short courses to full length master's degree. they are designed to provide healthcare professionals with the knowledge of infection control practices and procedures, including the chain of infection, standard precautions, work practice controls, and environment controls. students are trained in the techniques of data management and data mining that are designed to not only help improve patient care, but also facilitate in developing infection prevention and control polices to ensure patient safety. the types of courses that you could come across in these programs may include:
legal and ethical issues in healthcare management
principles of epidemiology
identification of the infectious disease processes
design of a surveillance system
infection prevention and control
the us bureau of labor statistics (bls) reported in may 2012 that registered nurses earned a median annual wage of $65,470. the job opportunities seem to be good because the bls estimated a growth rate of 19% from 2012 to 2022. infectious disease nurse practitioners may work in acute and long term health care settings, ambulatory care, public health environment, and home care.