Results from the APIC MegaSurvey, the largest-ever survey of the infection prevention workforce, describe the core activities and competencies of infection preventionists (IPs). The first in a series of articles based on the survey findings was recently published in the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC).
The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) undertook the MegaSurvey in 2015 to create a baseline of data to answer critical questions related to practice and competencies, organizational structure and staffing, compensation, and the demographics of IPs. Infection preventionists are experts in identifying sources of infections and limiting their transmission in healthcare facilities.
“Infection preventionists are the backbone of efforts to prevent infections in healthcare settings,” said Timothy Landers, PhD, RN, CNP, CIC, FAAN, chair of the APIC Research Committee and Associate Professor at The Ohio State University College of Nursing. “Despite increasing recognition of the importance of infection prevention, relatively little is known about contemporary IP practice. To provide resources to support IPs and identify future directions for infection prevention, APIC felt it was critical to understand IPs’ current practice environments.”
Results from the APIC MegaSurvey will allow for a better understanding of IP roles and responsibilities by facility type, years of experience, professional development, and current position, and will provide insight into opportunities for professional development.
Of 13,050 eligible APIC members, 4,078 (31 percent) took the online survey in mid- to late- 2015. Among the key findings:
• The majority of respondents (81 percent) have a primary discipline of nursing
• Two-thirds of IPs (66.2 percent) currently work in acute care settings; the remaining portion work in long-term care, ambulatory, outpatient, and other care settings
• Surveillance and investigation were reported as the most frequent activities by IPs, accounting for a quarter (25.4 percent) of infection prevention efforts
• 43 percent of respondents are certified in infection prevention and control (CIC®)
• 37.7 percent are not certified, but indicate they plan to sit for certification in the future
• Individuals with current CIC certification had higher base compensation than those without current certification
“The APIC MegaSurvey data establishes a benchmark for practice and compensation data, and suggests directions for future growth of the IP role,” said Landers. “Forthcoming articles, developed by the APIC Research Committee, will provide in-depth analyses of the data to frame IP practice for the coming years.”
One of the upcoming articles that will be of most interest to IPs will address staffing levels, organization, and support of infection prevention and control programs. Additional articles will cover IP compensation, expansion of the IP workforce to include professionals with non-clinical backgrounds, roles and responsibilities of IPs working outside of the acute care (hospital) setting, and strategies to support certification.
In 2016 APIC published a Compensation Report based on MegaSurvey data. Additional reports on practices and competencies, and organizational structure will be released in March.