Infection control nurses, practitioners, professionals, preventionists – the name has changed over the years but never the core mission: patient safety.
Today’s infection preventionists may be making darn sure a urinary catheter is promptly taken out one day and testifying at some legislative hearing the next. As healthcare associated infections (HAIs) have become a national issue, the IP of today and the immediate future needs a hand truck to carry everything she brings to the table. We say bring it, but warn that it does raise concerns about their role becoming diluted and less defined under the rush of demands.
To meet that challenge, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) has developed a model for IP competency. The model outlines the skills needed to advance the infection prevention field and was created to help direct the IP’s professional development at all career stages.
The APIC competency model is published in the May issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the association’s official journal. Represented as a circular diagram with patient safety in the center, the model illustrates four critical areas of expertise that are needed for the expanding IP role:
1. leadership and program management;
2. performance improvement and implementation science;
3. infection prevention and control;
4. technical expertise.
“This conceptual model not only describes successful IP practice as it is today, but is also meant to be forward thinking by emphasizing those areas that will be especially critical in the next three to five years,” the authors state. “APIC views the model as part of the association’s long-standing efforts to define and advance the profession.”
The content areas correspond to the core competencies as defined by the Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology (CBIC). “Board certification in infection prevention is critical to professional development,” add the authors. “It represents the bridge between the novice and the proficient professional.”
Murphy D, Hanchett M, Olmsted R, et al. Competency in infection prevention: A conceptual approach to guide current and future practice. AJIC 2012;40:296-303)