Let’s face it, if there’s one thing you have to worry about in a hospital, it’s infection. Infection can turn everyday issues and small illnesses into life-threatening problems. That’s why there are infection control nurses. These nurses are responsible for preventing bacteria, germs and viruses from spreading and infiltrating the hospital.
How to Become an Infection Control Nurse
Before you become an infection control nurse, you must first obtain an associate or bachelor of science degree in nursing and pass your NCLEX. After this, you must work as a staff nurse in inflectional control. Gaining experience in this area can help you when you take your exam and ensure you are in the right field. When you feel like you’re ready, you can then qualify to take the Infection Control certification exam. You’ll then become a Certified Infection Control Nurse. This certification needs to be renewed every five years.
Pay Scale for Nurses: Infection Control Nurses
Infection control nurses make an average of $67,003 annually according to Payscale.com. Unfortunately, statistics show that experience doesn’t affect salary very much. You may earn a little more than this as you become more experienced, but most do not earn much more. Many hospitals do offer bonuses, however. According to Payscale, you can earn as much as $4,848 a year in just bonuses.
Your location, however, may affect your pay. Cost of living and the specific hospital or care facility you work in will impact your salary.
Infection Control Nurse Job Description
As an infection control nurse, you’ll be responsible for performing a number of tasks in the workplace.
- You’ll instruct nurses and health care assistants on how to correctly wash their hands to avoid spreading infections from patient to patient.
- You’ll create sanitation plans to help ensure patients are kept safe from infections throughout the hospital.
- You may be responsible for studying the bacterial cultures obtained from patients. These cultures will help you determine what type of infection is being dealt with and if it is the result of the health care received by the patient while they were under the care of the hospital.
- If an infection breaks out in the hospital, and it is necessary, you may be responsible for contacting the Center for Disease Control.
In addition to these infection-specific jobs, you may also need to:
- Talk to patients about PICC line placement and how it reduces infections
- Place IV insertions
- Maintain catheters
- Insert central lines
- Monitor VAD, or vascular access device sites daily
- Educate other nurses about PICC line placement
- Evaluate the placement of IVs, PICC lines, central lines and VAD sites
When working as an infection control nurse, you can work with hospitalization infections, HIV, STDs and pediatric infections. You can work in hospitals, but you may also find work in outpatient care clinics.
Think the world of infection control is the right one for you? Consider becoming an infection control nurse. When it comes to pay scale for nurses, infection control might not offer more money with experience, it does offer a decent salary to start with.