The pandemic took a significant toll on infection preventionists (IPs) – the “specially trained professionals, leaders, educators and collaborators” who work on the frontlines of healthcare to reduce and eliminate healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) and “promote a culture of safety,” according to the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).
During the pandemic, IPs had to manage rapidly changing prevention guidance, shortages in personal protective equipment (PPE), and increases in HAIs and workload. In a recently published survey of 6,000 APIC members, only 17% reported high life quality, while 21.5% reported depression; 29.8%, anxiety; and 65%, burnout due to COVID-19. Infection preventionists working nine or more hours a day were more likely to report a decline in physical and mental health. The same study found a 25% vacancy rate for IPs, and 40% of current IPs expecting to retire in the next decade.
Given these statistics, how can providers and educators encourage current and future healthcare professionals to consider a career as an IP? The Medline Newsroom spoke with Medline Medical Science Liaison Caryn Arnold, MBA, RN, CNOR(E), a-IPC , on how providers and provider partners can help prioritize and support this vital role.