What Is an Infection Control Nurse?

We all know more about viruses and infection today than we did not long ago (and more than we likely want),  but that just goes to show why the infection control nurse is one of the most important people in a hospital, nursing home, or other medical facility. One of the most important jobs in nursing, let’s explore the Infection Control Nurse.

What Does an Infection Control Nurse Do?

An Infection Control Nurse is trained to help control the spread of infection and other diseases. They can assess situations and take the steps to isolate patients who show signs of having a communicable or infectious disease. The nurse has the tools and knowledge to clean, disinfect, and sanitize the environment so that germs and other microbes are eliminated before they can spread and infect others. Infectious disease can spread rather quickly simply by touching surfaces, shaking hands, or being in close proximity to others who are noticeably showing signs of being sick.

Infection Control Nurses are trained to isolate both individuals and objects that have been exposed to bacteria or viruses that can lead to an outbreak. Infection Control Nurses also educate the community on how bacteria, viruses, and other germs are spread. They will also offer several tips and techniques that individuals can use to protect themselves and reducing their risk of exposure. Educating the public is one of the best ways to minimize the spread of dangerous diseases.

How Much Does an Infection Control Nurse Make in a Year?

An infection control nurse can expect to receive a salary that falls somewhere in the range of $75,000 to $95,000 per year. There are several factors that will be used to determine the amount of pay that is offered to an infection control nurse as a new hire. Two factors many people don’t consider are the state in which the nurse lives and type of company that is hiring. On average, most RN’s who work as an infection control nurse can expect to receive close to $85,000 per year.

Other factors that affect an infection control nurse’s earning power are their education and how many years of experience they have. Having a Bachelor’s degree or higher is most beneficial. It also helps to add certifications as well. Certifications are shorter classes that will often fulfill the continuing education requirements to maintain a graduate’s nursing license. Years of experience are invaluable when trying to get hired for a position in which it is essential to have some type of background in the industry. While education is good, experience adds a deeper layer of understanding when it comes to fighting infectious diseases.

Where Can an Infection Control Nurse Find Work?

Infection control nurses work primarily in healthcare facilities where infectious diseases are treated. Nurses that are well-versed in the protocols of handling infectious waste can also find employment in laboratories and research facilities that specialize in the creation and formulation of medications. Health and medical facilities like nursing homes and hospitals are constantly looking for nurses who are well-versed in the protocols and guidelines associated with the control of infectious disease.

Infection control nurses can also become educators and offer assistance to organizations by training their staff in the appropriate protocols of handing infectious waste and also how to reduce their risk of exposure in the first place. With the additional training and certifications that infection control nurses have, they are excellent choices for organizations that work in disaster relief efforts. Infection control nurses can teach first responders and disaster relief teams the appropriate way to handle both clean and contaminated materials so that all safety protocols are adhered to.

What Type of Education Does an Infection Control Nurse Need?

A nursing degree is the first step in becoming an infection control nurse. While other types of education can also be pursued, it is important to enroll in classes that deal with biologics and the control of infectious diseases. Once a nurse has passed the state licensing board exam, he or she will have to fulfill continuing education requirements each year to keep their license in good standing. Enrolling in certification programs offers nurses an ideal way to stay up to date on new trends while fulfilling their CE requirements. There are several types of certifications that will work well for this type of position.

Another form of education is on the job training or internships. This type of education offers invaluable experience and gives the student the skills they need to interact and work with others in the profession. The more experience an infection control nurse has the more likely they are to be considered for higher-paying jobs with more responsibilities. These positions are normally reserved for nurses who have earned the respect of their peers and have proven themselves to be capable of handling highly sensitive situations. The candidates for these types of positions are also encouraged to have good organizational or managerial skills as well.

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