08 Aug Selecting a Qualified Infection Control Consultant
Every health care facility benefits from the services of an Infection Control Consultant to ensure the safety of its patients and staff. Clinics needing an infection-focused professional on staff must be careful to scrutinize the education and experience of all applicants to be certain that the person chosen has the appropriate credentials and skills to do the job well.
Why Hire an Infection Control Consultant
Every year, more than one and a half million people are sickened by viruses, bacteria, and diseases that they pick up while in the hospital. Known as “healthcare associated infections” (HAIs), these illnesses are often preventable if the clinic staff knows how to handle disease-ridden materials and objects. The Infection Control Consultant is specially trained to identify and contain the spread of infectious diseases in the health care clinical setting.
What to Look for on the Infection Control Consultant’s Resume
Every Infection Control Consultant should have a four-year bachelor’s degree in a medical science such as nursing. Some may also have master’s degrees or Ph.D.’s in health care sciences. Beyond the education, each applicant should also have several years of infection control consulting or nursing experience.
The best qualified for the job will also be certified in the position. The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) certifies the nation’s Infection Control Consultants. The APIC categorizes Infection Control Consultant training into four stages. The first stage involves learning the processes and medical language around how infections fester and spread. Stage two examines the types of microbes that cause infections, and the effect those pathogens have on the human body. The third stage focuses on the facility itself, including how basic hygiene principles and sterilization methods reduce or eliminate the opportunity for infections to grow. Stage four identifies the strengths and weaknesses of tests used to detect infections.
Candidates for certification must have at least a bachelor’s degree, two years of experience in infection prevention and control, and additional training in a management, research, or occupational health capacity. Certification by APIC indicates that the candidate is competent in the practice of infection prevention and control and health care epidemiology. A valid certification lasts for five years.
Having a well-trained Infection Control Consultant on staff is worth the time and money because of the peace of mind it provides.