Infection prevention workforce: Potential benefits to educational diversity
Nurses have historically occupied the infection preventionist (IP) role. As the knowledge and skills needed to advance the field expand, professionals from public health and the laboratory sciences have become IPs. Our study describes the characteristics of current IPs and assesses for relationships between background, certification, experience, and type of work performed.Methods:
The data were drawn from an existing dataset collected in the conduct of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) MegaSurvey. Descriptive statistics were computed. Associations were calculated using χ2 or Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel tests. Characteristics of IPs were stratified by work-related activities to allow for comparisons between groups.Results:
Of the 13,050 active APIC members, 4,079 participated in the survey (31% response rate). The primary job activity for nurses (97.9%; n = 2,434) was preventing and controlling the transmission of infectious agents or health care–associated infections, for laboratory scientists (97.5%; n = 307) it was the interpretation of surveillance data, and for public health professionals (96.1%; n = 136) it was management and communication: feedback.Conclusions:
Infection control departments would benefit from hiring IPs with diverse education and training to address the expanding roles and responsibilities of IPs. This may facilitate the implementation of novel and innovative processes that will impact patient care.