Do you enjoy learning about infectious diseases? Would you to explore a career where you can help patients recover. Sometimes against almost impossible odds? Then maybe you should consider a career as an Infection Control Nurse. Ready to learn? Let’s get started!

How to Become a Infection Control Nurse Guide
How to Become an Infection Control Nurse Guide

Table of Contents

Quick Summary

Infection control nurses are specialist nurses who take an aggressive stance against the spread of disease. They have the knowledge and skills to combat and monitor disease.

Infection control nurses ensure that the workplace is free of disease. At times of outbreaks that turn into an epidemic, they work relentlessly to curb the disease. Their knowledge of epidemiology and public health practices is utilized by several medical settings and public health departments. Most infection control nurses have a solid familiarity with antibiotics as well as a strong knowledge of microbiology, infection disease, medication, vaccine, etc.

Degree needed to practice: Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and  a Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Master of Science in Public Health may be needed for some positions

License required: Unrestricted Registered Nursing License (RN)

Certification Available: The Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology offers to credential infection control nurses wishing to become certified.

How much do Infection Nurses earn? The Median annual salary is $102,670* annually.


What does an Infection Control Nurse do?

Microscopic organisms are everywhere! Many infectious diseases are disorders that are caused by organisms; this includes bacteria, parasites, fungi, and viruses. A large number of organisms live within the human body. A majority of the time bacteria are safe and not likely to cause us any harm. However, due to certain conditions, a small number of organisms may result in disease and illness.

 Infection Control Nurse Job Duties:

  • Ability to collect and analyze medical data
  • Ability to teach the public on various health issues
  • Prevent and control infectious disease outbreaks
  • Investigate disease outbreaks and submits reports
  • Study lab reports and hospital records and make recommendations
  • Plan, implement, and evaluate infection prevention measures
  • Issue alerts to the local, state, and federal authorities about possible outbreaks
  • Monitor facility for safety and cleanliness through monthly rounds with the safety officer and risk managers

One of the infection control nurses, main job responsibilities, is helping to prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) for patients and employees. Employees are regularly exposed to HAI and patients contract HAIs when they go to the hospital to be treated. Once the patient returns home from being treated at the hospital within hours or days can become ill.

Some of the HAI’s patients become infected with are Pneumonia, Gastrointestinal Illness, Urinary Track infection, and other diseases. According to the public health department, 1 in 25 patients receives an HAI. Research has shown HAIs are the nation’s 6th leading cause of death within the U.S. HAIs are of great concern for Infection Control Nurses.

The infection control nurse does all he or she can to minimize HAIs and use infection prevention methods such as separating the patient from the rest of the hospital, or any other contaminated source. The word isolation comes to mind.. this is a strong word. However, this is what the Infection control nurse is trying to do, separate the infected are assumed contaminated sources from everyone.

They do this to create a barrier between the infected and the rest of the environment including people and personnel to prevent the illness, disease, from spreading.

Prevention is the key to helping to control this problem. To help combat this issue infection control nurses focus on several other methods such as taking basic cleaning measures to make sure the hospital environment and equipment are clean and sterile. Likewise, the infection control nurse coordinates with staff to ensure standard hygiene precautions are used such as hand washing, wearing clean gloves are followed by all staff members.

As an infection control nurse, you can expect to be busy, some days you may be gathering cultures for a chronically ill patient. Other days you may spend your time consulting with patients to explain lab results.

Infection control nurses’ job does not just encompass helping patients fight infections deadly diseases but also you may take on the role as an educator. Many are responsible for coordinating activities and educating staff, and patients through ongoing health promotion orientations and meetings.

Infection control nurses use their expertise, knowledge, and nursing skills to direct, develop, plan, implement, and evaluate disease prevention activities. In hopes to promote health and safety to employees and patients by implementing employee health programs that promote safe environments.


What education will I need to become an Infection Control Nurse?

The training to become an Infection Control Nurse is typically done with a 4-year bachelor’s degree in nursing. Along with a 2-year Masters’s degree in Science or a master’s in public health.

Both levels could allow you to sit for your state license to become an RN.

If you’re looking to stay competitive to find the best nursing position you may consider becoming certified. Certification can be obtained through The Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology.


Career Outlook

As with most health care fields, the nursing field is expected to grow much faster than average over the next decade. As infectious diseases continue to spread so will be the demand for Infection Control Nurses. It is important to stay informed and up to date with the latest trends, infectious diseases, and outbreaks. This will give you good ideas of what to expect from the job market.

Read also – How to Become a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Guide

Check out our other Nursing School Guides.