Nursing Career: Infectious Disease Units
Many nurses who have completed clinical experience in infectious disease see firsthand how important and rewarding this specialized work can be. Nurses with infectious disease expertise are highly sought after in a variety of settings that extend beyond the hospital. Extended care facilities, educational entities, governmental organizations and nongovernmental organizations providing international relief are all places where a nurse with this expertise can find employment opportunity.
As a dedicated clinician, researcher, teacher, or administrative leader in infectious disease, becoming board certified in Infection Control and Epidemiology is often one of the steps in the process of additional career advancement and opportunity. Here are some of the things nurses should understand about the certification:
In order to be considered for board certification by the Certification Control Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology (CBIC), practitioners must have completed both educational and practical skills requirements; applicants must be:
- A registered nurse or other registered allied health professional, such as a physician or medical technician
- Currently working in a leadership role in infectious disease treatment and prevention
- Able to pass a standardized test that is written at a proficiency level of at least two years of experience in the field
On a case by case basis there is some credit given for work experience in place of education, but the majority of certified professionals have both a Bachelor's and a Master’s degree and engage in ongoing professional development.
Why is Certification Important
While not all competent professionals seek certification, the process is important in a number of ways for both the healthcare providers and their patients. Completing the process of certification means that the healthcare provider has completed a standardized body of theoretical and practical knowledge over a wide range of aptitudes. When building a healthcare team, employers can be reassured that all certified members have the information and skills that are needed to work synergistically on complex health problems in an infectious disease setting.
Infectious disease control and prevention is an important field with many professional growth opportunities to become leaders in the treatment, education, research, and facility management related to infectious disease. At the current time, CBIC reports that there are just over 5000 professionals who have achieved and currently maintain certification.
As healthcare consumers, patients and their families can count on CBIC certified professionals to demonstrate the best practice methods of care put forth by the CBIC. With a nurse’s comprehensive education and skills needed for certification, the patient can rest assured that the certified healthcare practitioner is devoted to their field, engages in ongoing professional, and has displayed the dedication needed for longevity in the field.
Working with infectious diseases is one of the most significant and challenging fields in the nursing profession. Obtaining certification and strong professional affiliation with the most elite infectious disease professionals can help you maintain the most current information and treatment protocol, ensuring increased safety for you and for your patients.
People of all walks of life and in every country of the world need nurses who are well trained in infectious diseases to help treat and address the special needs of patients suffering with the most challenging of ailments. In addition to the practical skills and theoretical knowledge, infectious disease nurses need to have high levels of empathy and compassion, and must be able to allocate time for self-development including health conscious activities and time for rejuvenation in order to promote life-long longevity in the field.