As the current pandemic rages on with new variants, like Omicron, and the growing threat of antibiotic-resistant superbugs escalates, it’s time to give another well-deserved nod to all of the frontline workers keeping us safe, starting with Infection Preventionists.
Jack of all trades
Linda Spaulding, RN-BC, CIC, CHEC, CHOP recently discussed the role of Infection Preventionists in Infection Control Today. Coming from backgrounds ranging from nursing to public health, Infection Preventionists, or IPs, play multiple roles, including, “HAI expert, consultant, educator, mentor and leader”, among others, with responsibilities including, but not limited to, “stopping and preventing infections, monitoring for proper antibiotic use, monitoring for the presence of multidrug-resistant organisms, surveillance, use of personal protective equipment, and policy changes to mitigate risk of infection”. Needless to say, whatever the role or task may be, IPs are there to keep us safe.
But, what to prioritize?
The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) addresses this very question.
A recent article in Healthcare Hygiene Magazine showcases APIC’s IPC Acuity Scale. This free, downloadable tool prioritizes tasks into three categories (listed below), based on the level of emphasis required during a crisis situation, such as the current pandemic, and allows IPs to focus on patient safety and limiting infection spread.
- Emphasis: Make a high priority
- Lessen Emphasis: Consider delegating to trained non-IP staff
- Decrease Emphasis: Consider setting aside during crisis
In good hands
The future is uncertain, that’s for sure. With current crises, along with whatever may come next, it’s comforting to know IPs are there, fulfilling their many roles and responsibilities to prioritize our health and safety – patients, staff, visitors, and vendors alike.