How do Infection Preventionists (IP) do it all? Survey results of many IPs document the increasing tasks required by facility administration as well as federal and state authorities. Often, acute care facilities do not budget for enough personnel to carry out the responsibilities facing IPs.

Some of the responsibilities include:

Surveillance… which includes case findings, data collection, analysis, reporting and risk assessments for future prevention activities. The risk assessments include requirements by local, state and federal agencies to identify those populations most vulnerable to healthcare acquired infections (HAI).

Public reporting… as of March 2014, 31 states have enacted laws requiring hospitals to report HAI data to the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). Pay for performance is a large part of healthcare quality improvement with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid services (CMS) conditions of participation for hospitals and conditions for coverage for ambulatory surgery centers.

Outbreak investigation… is a key responsibility of IPs. This is not just facility outbreaks. It includes emergency preparedness, emerging pathogens, bioterrorism and natural disasters.

Education and training…in-services are often structured education programs but can also be on the spot teachable moments. CMS, Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) and Joint Commission require training for accreditation. Lapses of infection prevention training can result in major errors in IP efforts and increased HAIs.

In a study done by Sharon Parillo, BSN, RN, CIC at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Somerset, NJ, it takes 118.29 hours per month just to review labs and complete reporting using the NHSN criteria. That is 5 hours and 8 minutes per day. This leaves little time to complete all the other tasks that actually help prevent HAIs.  How do IPs do it all??

Source: Infection Prevention Programs: Promoting Value, Securing Resources, Kelly Pyrek, Infection Control Today, June 20, 2016