To meet the demands of the rapidly expanding field of infection prevention, and equip professionals for the challenges of the future, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) today introduced their first model for infection preventionist (IP) competency. The model outlines the skills needed to advance the infection prevention field and was created to help direct the IP’s professional development at all career stages.
The APIC Competency Model for the Infection Preventionist appears in a white paper in the May issue of the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC), the official journal of APIC, in a special topic issue focused on “The Road to 2020.”
Represented as a circular diagram with patient safety in the center, the model illustrates four critical areas of expertise that are needed for the expanding IP role – including leadership and program management; performance improvement and implementation science; infection prevention and control; and technical expertise.
Future areas for infection preventionist competency:
- Leadership and program management
- Performance improvement and implementation science
- Infection prevention and control
“This conceptual model not only describes successful IP practice as it is today, but is also meant to be forward thinking by emphasizing those areas that will be especially critical in the next three to five years,” state the authors of the white paper. “APIC views the model as part of the association’s long-standing efforts to define and advance the profession.”
The content areas correspond to the core competencies as defined by the Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology (CBIC). “Board certification in infection prevention is critical to professional development,” add the authors. “It represents the bridge between the novice and the proficient professional.”
A guest editorial appearing in AJIC co-authored by APIC 2012 president Michelle Farber, RN, CIC, and CEO Katrina Crist, MBA, introduces the Road to 2020 theme. “The association is pursuing ambitious strategic goals, and we encourage all infection prevention stakeholders to join with us,” state Farber and Crist.
The AJIC special issue includes the full text of the APIC Strategic Plan 2020, which was adopted by the APIC board of directors in January 2012. The plan sets the course over the next eight years to advance toward the association’s vision of healthcare without infection and fulfill its mission to create a safer world through prevention of infection through five strategic priorities: patient safety, implementation science, competencies and certification, advocacy and data standardization.
The value of certification in infection prevention and control is the subject of another article in the issue. An additional article discusses performance improvement and implementation science and examines how both areas are essential to the IP’s and APIC’s future success. A final article presents results from a national survey on the APIC research agenda.
“As the demand for infection prevention expertise continues to rapidly expand, so too does the need for IPs to acquire new skills,” says Farber. “Future efforts will build upon the platform described in these papers to help direct our members into areas where future knowledge and skills will be most needed and valued.”
To learn more about the model and its explanation, attend the APIC 2012 Annual Conference session titled, “A Long and Winding Road: Meeting Current Challenges, Preparing for Future Demands: APIC Introduces a Model of IP Competency,” on Tuesday, June 5, 3-4 p.m. in San Antonio, Texas.