What does an infection control nurse do?
Infection control nurses prevent, identify, monitor, and control the outbreak of infectious conditions in health care environments and communities. They isolate the infection sources and provide recommendations on how to control the spread of infection. They also create strategies to prevent further outbreaks of infections. Infection control nurses often participate in direct patient care and provide education to patients and families about the risk, prevention, and control of infections. Many infection control nurses are involved with collecting data and performing research. They also create, plan, and implement programs for the prevention of outbreaks and response efforts to biological terrorism.
What kind of training does an infection control nurse need?
Infection control nurses must become registered nurses by completing a diploma, associate degree, or bachelor degree program. Many aspiring infection control nurses complete internships or work as nursing assistants is a variety of health settings to gain practical experience. All states require infection control nurses to be licensed. Licensing requirements include graduating from an approved nursing program and passing a national examination. Many infection control nurses also gain certification from the Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology. Infection control nurses must complete continuing education courses on a regular basis to keep up to date on their skills and maintain their licenses and certifications.
What are the prospects for a career as an infection control nurse?
Employment of all nurses is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 23% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The growing population and increased emphasis on infectious disease prevention and management will drive job growth.
Job prospects are expected to be very good especially for infection control nurses with advanced education and extensive experience. Numerous job openings will stem from the need to replace infection control nurses that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.
How much do infection control nurses make?
As of November 2009, the middle 50% of infection control nurses earn annual salaries between $65,177 and $77,905. The top 10% earn annual salaries of more than $83,657 (2).
A career as an infection control nurse is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in infection control practices in health care settings and communities. Infection control nurses must a solid knowledge of infection control procedures in a variety of environments. Critical thinking, patience, determination, organization, and good problem solving skills are desirable characteristics. Infection control nurses must have excellent communication skills and be able to effectively work as part of a team. Infection control nurses must always take the proper safety precautions when dealing with infectious conditions.