Of all the forces that threaten our health, communicable diseases present a unique challenge to healthcare professionals — especially nurses, who spend a significant amount of time with sick patients. The microscopic culprits of these diseases are constantly evolving, requiring us to modify our tactics so that they don’t get the upper hand in the lives of individuals or whole populations.
As a nurse, would you like to have greater assurance that the facilities you work in are well-prepared for invisible invasions that have the potential to plague society? Do you have an uncompromising commitment to the high standards that keep germs at bay? If so, infection control travel nursing might be for you.
Here we discuss all you need to know about infection control travel nursing, including the responsibilities involved in the profession and the steps to making it your career.
Table of Contents
- What Is an Infection Control Travel Nurse?
- 8 Responsibilities of an Infection Control Travel Nurse
- Infection Control Travel Nurse: FAQs Regarding the Profession
- How To Become an Infection Control Travel Nurse
- Find an Infection Control Travel Nurse Contract With Trusted Nurse Staffing
What Is an Infection Control Travel Nurse?
An infection control nurse (also known as an infection prevention nurse) helps prevent, identify, and manage the spread of infectious agents like bacteria and viruses. Research, active investigation, teaching, and evaluating are a few of the tasks the infection control nurse performs to protect patients, staff, and visitors from the spread of disease.
8 Responsibilities of an Infection Control Travel Nurse
Infection control nurses don’t typically work directly with patients all of the time as does a bedside nurse. Rather, they deal more with managing, devising plans and procedures, ensuring everyone is following protocols, and more. The following responsibilities make up the bulk of an infection control nurse’s work.
#1: Observe Data
Infection control travel nurses gather and observe data regarding various types of infectious agents. It is critical that your teaching and planning be based on evidence. Furthermore, you can gather and analyze follow-up data to be sure that your plans have been effective.
Understanding data that comes specifically from your facility is just a start. You can get a more general picture of a particular pathogen’s activity and its effects by reading academic research and interpreting the facts and trends reported in the general population.
#2: Teach Prevention Techniques
Teach and train healthcare providers, public health professionals, and the community techniques and protocols to prevent infection. This is important to do proactively so that infection control can be an ongoing endeavor that everyone participates in.
Also, everyone being prepared in the case of an emergency can keep a bad outbreak from becoming uncontrolled.
#3: Work With the CDC
As an infection control travel nurse, you’ll need to be aware of new announcements by the CDC, which may include new findings relevant to current infection control procedures. Work with the CDC to be informed of their guidelines for infection control and to ascertain that you are properly implementing and enforcing those practices that meet those guidelines.
#4: Develop Plans
Use your knowledge of medical procedures and treatments to develop plans and policies to help healthcare providers prevent the spread of disease within the facility. Include plans to help patients understand the impact of their health practices. Some of these plans are for emergency situations and should help minimize the impact of a potentially severe outbreak.
#5: Lead the IPC Program
You will likely be in charge of your facility’s Infection Prevention and Control Program, which coordinates all activities related to the prevention and control of infectious diseases, including:
- Developing and carrying out policies and procedures
- Educating patients and staff
- Investigating outbreaks and monitoring the prevalence of infectious diseases that are not currently considered widespread
#6: Decrease the Rate of Infection
To decrease the rate of infection in your facility, you must make careful observation of your surroundings and the behaviors of healthcare providers and patients. Take note of areas that need improvement so that you can factor them into your plans to improve the hygiene and cleanliness of your facility.
#7: Determine the Origin of Infection
Understanding where an infection has come from can help prevent future infections and stop the spread of disease. Is the pathogen a bacterium, a virus, a fungus, or a parasite?
Closely associated with the origin of an infection is its mode of entry. For instance, a pathogen may be airborne, bloodborne, or sexually transmitted. It may have been ingested, inhaled, or transmitted by direct contact or indirectly through items used in common or by soiled materials. These factors largely determine the techniques used to limit its spread.
#8: Help Develop Treatment Modalities
This may not be something you expect nurses to assist with, but as workers on the front lines, nurses may see much that escapes the notice of other healthcare providers. As such, they play a key role in finding treatments for their patients and determining whether adequate treatment has been provided.
Infection Control Travel Nurse: FAQs Regarding the Profession
What Are Some Qualities of a Great Infection Control Travel Nurse?
The following qualities are important for an infection control nurse to fulfill the tasks described above:
- Communication skills: The nurse’s ability to communicate effectively to patients and their families about infection prevention leads to greater compliance and thus prevents the spread of communicable diseases.
You may also be the liaison between your facility’s healthcare providers and the CDC, in which case you must be able to effectively communicate the nature of various pathogenic threats.
- Research skills: Understanding evidence of emerging pathogens presented via scientific studies requires strong analytical skills. You must comprehend how the pathogen is transmitted and what strategies can be utilized to prevent its transmission. Then you must be able to make relevant, helpful decisions based on the research you’ve analyzed.
- Assessment skills: Be able to assess a patient’s condition quickly and accurately to determine when infection control practices are urgent. This means understanding the signs and symptoms of infection and taking the appropriate action to prevent its spread. It might include following protocols for isolation of patients or contact tracing.
- Understanding of the human microbiome: You must understand how colonization, contamination, and infection relate to one another in order to approach infection control appropriately.
- Problem-solving skills: To develop effective plans for addressing outbreaks of infection or just preventing disease transmission in general, the nurse must be able to troubleshoot procedures that haven’t been effective or devise time-saving and less complicated ways of achieving cleanliness.
- Organizational skills: You must be organized in order to keep track of patients’ records as well as records of infection control protocols. It helps to be meticulous and detail-oriented so that no symptoms are overlooked or breaches of protocol allowed to continue.
- Leadership skills: A leader in this setting must be able to motivate and confidently guide his or her team toward the goal of containing infectious diseases as much as possible. Strong leadership skills are essential when challenges and insecurities arise among members of the team or within the population the team is serving.
If you possess or are cultivating these qualities, search now for a specific job that you feel would be a good starting point for your career as an infection control travel nurse.
What Is the Demand for Infection Control Travel Nurses?
With more outbreaks like ebola and pandemics like COVID-19, there’s a need for infection control nurses, especially travel nurses willing to take contracts where they’re needed. (If you are already a staff nurse, a transition to travel nursing might be a new and exciting option for you.)
Even when there is no official outbreak, infection control nurses are still necessary components of a healthcare team because they ensure that healthcare facilities are safe and sanitary for everyone. Their role of enforcing infection control techniques is critical to the prevention of hospital-acquired (nosocomial) infections.
There is a demand for infection control nurses in every state because they play such an essential role in preventing infections.
Where Does an Infection Control Travel Nurse Work?
Infection control travel nurses are regularly needed in any of the following settings:
- Hospitals: The infection control nurse helps coordinate a comprehensive plan for preventing infection that includes educating patients and hospital employees to ensure proper sanitation practices.
- Long-term care facilities: Patients in these facilities have many health risks, meaning it is all the more critical to prevent infection in their case.
- Ambulatory and outpatient care centers: These settings have a significant amount of traffic and so benefit immensely from nurses who constantly monitor and enforce sanitary practices.
- Home health and hospice: More patients move to these settings since evidence has shown that shorter hospital stays reduce infection risk.
- Prisons: Disease can spread quickly in this environment because there is a high volume of people in tight quarters.
Try out Pronto, our recommended search tool, to find specific jobs that meet your desired criteria in the area of your choice.
How Much Does an Infection Control Travel Nurse Make?
An infection control nurse’s salary will vary by location and experience, but $1,687 per week or $112,564 per year is the national average. Keep in mind, however, that travel nurses in this field are paid significantly more than their stationary counterparts. In New York, for instance, travel nurses make $2,574 per week on average.
How To Become an Infection Control Travel Nurse
The following steps are prerequisites to becoming an infection control travel nurse:
- An Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is the standard minimum requirement, but a Bachelor of Science in Nursing is preferred.
- After passing the NCLEX to become certified as an RN, you’ll need to apply for a state license in the state you plan to practice in.
- Generally, two years of experience as an RN are required before you can take the exam in infection prevention and control.
- Pass the CIC certification exam through the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.
- Acquire a Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) to be a travel nurse in almost any state.
Find an Infection Control Travel Nurse Contract With Trusted Nurse Staffing
Trusted Nurse Staffing is glad to help you secure a contract to become an infection control travel nurse in the state you would like to work in. Contact us today to learn more about how you can gain valuable experience and expand your influence in the field of nursing.