An Infection Control professional, more recently referred to as an Infection Preventionist (ICP) is usually required to be a licensed Registered or Vocational Nurse, depending on state regulations. Some of the duties of the Infection Preventionist may include:
Surveillance: In infection control, surveillance is the term used to describe the function of observing, gathering, investigating and reviewing information about the patient as it pertains to infection prevention and control.
Patient Assessment: Accurately reporting signs, symptoms, and changes in condition and initiating isolation precautions as indicated.
Tracking and Trending: Tracking and trending information from surveillance; Practicing outbreak prevention and investigation, monitoring rates of infection and communicating findings in the form of verbal and written reports.
Orientation and Staff Education: Educating staff, patients and families to Infection Prevention. Monitoring staff compliance with basic infection control principles such as; hand washing, isolation, transmission based precautions, and use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Monitoring Antibiotic Usage: Reviewing and reporting antibiotic usage and trends of antibiotic resistance reported in antibiograms.
Revising Policies and Procedures: Participates in updating policies and procedures needed to maintain compliance with current recommendations from agencies of the federal and local government such as; OSHA, the CDC, state and local departments of health.
Environmental Rounds: Monitoring department compliance with Infection Control guidelines; conducting environmental rounds and consultation as needed.
Monitoring Employee Health: This may or may not be the direct responsibility of the Infection Preventionist. Responsibilities include annual physicals and tuberculosis screening for new hires and employees, offering influenza and Hepatitis B. vaccines, keeping accurate employee records, initiating workplace restrictions if indicated, becoming familiar with OSHA regulations and educating staff to Infection Control and Blood Borne Pathogens standards.
Each facility will have their own policies and procedures regarding the expectations of the Infection Control Designee. Responsibilities may be shared and hopefully, the nurse will be given the support they need to do their job efficiently and with satisfaction.