230050 Education for Population-based Infection Control & Environmental Safety: Preparing the Next Generation of Infection Preventionists and Why We Should Care

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 : 12:30 PM - 12:50 PM

Ida Androwich, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN , Loyola University Chicago Niehoff School of Nursing, Maywood, IL
Diana P. Hackbarth, RN, PhD, FAAN , Loyola University Chicago School of Nursing, Maywood, IL
Background: The need for nurses to meet the challenges of emerging infections, environmental hazards and the threat of bioterrorism has never been greater. Today's health care system demands that professional nurses assume leadership for patient safety and infection prevention, and broaden their scope of practice beyond the hospital to be community and population focused. Prevention, early detection, surveillance and treatment modalities must be designed, implemented, and evaluated at the system level. Specialized, advanced education in nursing is needed and is key to providing nurses with the required knowledge and skills to effect change now and in the health care system of the future.

Project Description: In recognition of the importance of advanced nursing education for infection prevention and environmental safety, federal funding was secured from the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) to start an innovative, online masters and certificate program in Population-based Infection Control & Environmental Safety (PICES). Course work is designed to accommodate the needs of the adult learner and enriched by interactions between students, expert faculty and exposure to individuals in leadership positions in infection prevention (IP). Supervised practica in a variety of settings are individually designed to recognize student's previous experience, career goals and geographic location.

Lessons Learned: The masters program and certificate option have been successfully implemented for over six years. Graduates have assumed leadership roles in infection prevention nationwide. Current students are sought out by prospective employers and report satisfaction with the program. Challenges encountered in curricular design, content coverage and developing remote clinical placements required innovative solutions and will be discussed.

Recommendations: Maintaining strong linkages with the practice community and professional organizations, as well as the importance of integrating formal, academic preparation with professional certification requirements is important. Online masters and doctoral education in this specialty for nurses is feasible and is necessary to maintain nursing roles as leaders in infection prevention and to build capacity for infection prevention in the U.S. and worldwide.

Learning Areas:
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related education
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss the importance of preparing nurses at the graduate level in population-based infection control and environmental safety. 2. Identify best practices in preparing the next generation of infection preventionists.

Keywords: Nursing Education, Infectious Diseases

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Project Director on the grant/project that is described in this presentation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.