dcsimg
Home » Healthcare Careers

What Does an Infection Preventionist Nurse Do?

Submitted by Admin on April 12, 2010, 9:04 am
Sallie Jo Rivera, RN

Sallie Jo Rivera, RN, MSN, CIC, didn't set out to become an infection preventionist nurse. She was just looking for a part-time job that would balance with her parenting schedule.

When a part-time Infection Control Nursing job was advertised 4 miles from her home, it seemed like a good fit for Rivera's schedule.

"Even though I had never done the job before, I applied and interviewed for the position," says Rivera. A recent graduate of a masters-level Community Health Nursing program, she felt confident she could handle the unfamiliar role. And her MSN curriculum had included a course in epidemiology, which had sparked her interest in the field.

What Does an Infection Preventionist Do?

Infection preventionists possess a comprehensive skillset aimed at preventing, investigating and managing the spread of infections within healthcare settings. Their knowledge base and clinical work helps improve patient outcomes and saves healthcare dollars.

With a rising national trend toward preventative care, the role of an infection preventionist is gaining awareness. This essential nursing specialty has been around for a long time, but the unwieldy title "infection control professional" was officially replaced with the more accurate--and more topical--"infection preventionist" in 2008.

Within 6 months of being hired, Rivera was greatly enjoying her new role as an infection preventionist. She likes using the diverse skills her job at Central DuPage Hospital (www.cdh.org) pulls into play. "Infection prevention uses my academic training in Community Health Nursing, Epidemiology, etc.," she says, "plus allows me to use my clinical training as well."

Rivera also gets a kick out of playing Sherlock Holmes. "I enjoy the detective work to figure out the questions of why, where, how, and when about a patient condition," she says. "I like collecting and analyzing data and looking for trends, patterns, and formulating quality tools and recommendations to prevent infections."

Infection preventionists must commit to keeping their skills and knowledge current. They also have to stay on the cutting edge of technology and keep up-to-date with regulations. Rivera enjoys the challenge. "I like learning new things, and infectious conditions are always evolving, for example, H1N1 that occurred during the 2009-2010 influenza season," she says.

Becoming an Infection Preventionist Nurse

Rivera has some inside tips for nurses who want to enter the infection prevention field.

First, she says, mentor with a trained, certified, qualified infection preventionist in your current role. Spend time with him or her learning about the role. Then apply for an open position.

To be considered for infection prevention jobs, you'll usually need a BSN degree. An MSN is not required, although Rivera found that her MSN program provided her with a solid academic foundation for her job. In order to hone her skills further, she attended a novice IP training program sponsored by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC). Later, she attended the 2nd and 3rd level APIC training programs. She recommends that new infection preventionists attend APIC-sponsored trainings and that they do lots of networking with professionals in their field.

As an infection preventionist nurse, certification demonstrates your internationally recognized level of knowledge in the field, signals to your employer and colleagues that you are committed to professional growth, and increases your credibility. To become certified, you'll need to pass the Certification in Infection Control (CIC) exam, which Rivera has done twice. Prior to taking the exam you need to work in the role for at least 2 years. The CIC is valid for 5 years.

Working in infection prevention gives you access to a variety of clinical and managerial experiences and fosters multi-disciplinary relationships, as you have to work closely with health professionals from diverse backgrounds. "It is fun, rewarding, stimulating and an excellent career path for nurses," Rivera says. "Just do it!"

Matching School Ads
Grand Canyon University
Online

Which career path will you take – Business, Nursing, Education, Psychology? Something else? GCU offers more than 100 majors to get you started!

Visit GCU.edu

Programs: Campus Locations:
  • Phoenix
  • Phoenix
Hide Locations [-]
Brightwood College
Campus

About Brightwood College

Brightwood College offers accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience for individuals focused on gaining the skills for specific careers. Brightwood College is owned and operated by Education Corporation of America.

Programs: Campus Locations:
  • Salida
  • Salida
Hide Locations [-]
Liberty University
Online

100% Online & No Standardized Testing

Programs: Campus Locations:
  • Lynchburg
  • Lynchburg
Hide Locations [-]
Platt College
Campus

Turn your talents into a career at nationally recognized and accredited Platt College.

Programs: Campus Locations:
  • Alhambra
  • Alhambra
Hide Locations [-]
Blake Austin College
Campus

Get the hands-on training you need to succeed at Blake Austin College.

Programs: Campus Locations:
  • Vacaville
  • Vacaville
Hide Locations [-]
Keiser University Graduate School
Online

For over 35 years, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals. 

Programs: Campus Locations:
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Fort Lauderdale
Hide Locations [-]
National Career College
Campus

Choosing a school and a new career path can be a very overwhelming process.

Programs: Campus Locations:
  • Van Nuys
  • Van Nuys
Hide Locations [-]
Unitek College
Campus

Unitek College™ is a privately held vocational school dedicated to helping you gain the skills needed to advance your career or begin a brand new career. 

Programs: Campus Locations:
  • Hayward
  • Hayward
Hide Locations [-]
Bradley University
Online

Established in 1897, Bradley University is a private, independent institution of higher learning in Peoria, Illinois. Inspired by our founder, notable philanthropist Lydia Moss Bradley, we pursue excellence in teaching, research, scholarship and service; and we celebrate leadership, integrity, diversity and collaborative learning.

Programs: Campus Locations:
  • Peoria
  • Peoria
Hide Locations [-]
Matching School Ads


2 Comments »

  • gravatar_G Patty says:

    This career field appears to be very specialized. Upon closer scrutiny, there are many challening and rewarding facets to it. Patty

  • gravatar_G Infection Preventionist Nurse Says “Just Do It” Discount b on Me says:

    [...] more here: Infection Preventionist Nurse Says “Just Do It” By admin | category: degree in nursing online | tags: available-options, [...]


About Us  |  FAQS  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy |  Sitemap |  Terms of Service
© 2006 - 2017 QuinStreet, Inc.