Infection Preventionists

IP/Stakeholder Series: The C-Suite

January 30, 2017

In this new series for 2017, we highlight insights from professionals in the healthcare community regarding how to foster communication and collaboration between infection preventionists (IPs) and key stakeholders. In this issue, Sue Barnes, RN, CIC, FAPIC, an independent clinical consultant and former national program leader for Infection Prevention and Control at Kaiser Permanente, provides her perspective on how IPs can best champion their programs to the C-suite at their healthcare institutions.

Certification: Important Trends That Will Shape the Future

October 17, 2016

Certification programs in healthcare were developed to demonstrate competency within a specific field. In regulated professions such as medicine and nursing, certification demonstrates proficiency above and beyond the knowledge and skills required for licensing. Over previous decades, this initial concept has expanded. Certifications are now widely used to showcase specialized, and sometimes advanced, proficiency in a wide variety of fields. This change has been driven by the ever evolving nature of healthcare, the demands of accrediting and regulatory bodies for valid processes to verify practitioner competency, and the lucrative source of revenue these programs provide to their providers.

Reliable Design of IP Programs

September 11, 2015

Currently there is no published guideline or community standard for the way in which infection preventionists (IPs) should spend their time each day in hospitals and ambulatory-based settings. The Infrastructure Report and the APIC IP Competency Model both help to address this, building on the SENIC study, though none offers a level of guidance that would support reliable design for the time constructs of IPs. The way in which IPs spend their time varies widely among facilities and across the continuum of care, driven in part by regulations, by the priorities to the IP’s manager, and by the strengths and interests of the IP.
In the absence of a guideline, the goal of this paper is offer a best practice model for structuring the day of an IP based on the APIC IP Competency Model, and for staffing a qualified and successful IP department/team. A sample organizational chart is also offered. We intend for this paper to be used to inform executives in hospitals and ambulatory-care facilities in order to support the priorities and scope of infection prevention and control programs, and to ensure that these programs are adequately resourced to protect relevant clinical imperatives.

Science, Technology and Infection Prevention: How Innovation Will Change the IP Role

September 6, 2015

Science and technology are well recognized and important drivers of change. Likewise the escalating pace of scientific advancement in healthcare has contributed significantly, especially during the 20th century, to increased longevity and quality of life. Both acute and chronic care have improved due to the scientific discovery and new technologies designed to apply the discoveries in specific situations. The advancement of medical science has opened new practice areas for a diverse range of healthcare workers and continues to create opportunities at a never before experienced rate of change.

The Infection Control Nurse: Approaching the End of an Era

August 31, 2015

Modern infection control, which is based on the scientific work of 19th century scientists such as Pasteur, Lister and Koch, was organized as a specialty for non-physician practitioners almost a century later. Hospital based infection control emerged as a distinct specialty in the 1970s. In its early decades the evolving specialty arena was led by registered nurses who still remain the single largest group of clinicians within what has now become a multidisciplinary field.

Infection Prevention Role Stress: A New Look at the Underlying Causes Within the Profession

August 4, 2015

The need for infection prevention, as a multidisciplinary function, is a longstanding and widely acknowledged component of safe healthcare. Accreditation and regulatory standards specify that this function must be an organized program coordinated by an individual qualified to assure that the necessary assessments, priorities, key metrics are achieved. This individual must also assure that the program supports the provider’s mission, aligns with its safety culture, and is effectively and efficiently integrated into its operational and care delivery systems. Decades of pub-lished literature, conferences and online educational programs are available to support these requirements.

Certification is Key in Preventing Infections, Advancing Careers

February 9, 2015

On any given day approximately one in 25 patients contracts at least one healthcare-associated infection (HAI) in a hospital or other healthcare setting. Lowering the incidence of HAI could potentially reduce a multitude of steep human and financial costs -- namely  illness, disability, mortality and billions of dollars in unnecessary healthcare expenses. Healthcare organizations, healthcare workers (HCWs), patients and other stakeholders look to infection preventionists (IPs) to tackle the problem of HAI in healthcare facilities. In meeting this challenge, IPs must rely upon their education, skills, training and experience. Becoming certified is one of the leading ways that IPs can formally demonstrate that they are committed to maintaining strong competencies, immersing themselves in the latest implementation science and providing quality leadership.