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Infection Prevention In Practice: The Evolution of the Field

Since the pandemic’s start, opportunities for Infection Preventionists and Epidemiologists have increased significantly. With new jobs popping up inside and outside of healthcare, new and exciting opportunities are available for those interested in pursuing a career in infection prevention. When considering a career in infection prevention, it is essential to consider where the field started and how it is evolving. Continue reading to learn more about the changes occurring in the field and more.

How has Infection Prevention evolved as a field since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic?

The IP profession has continued to evolve throughout the pandemic. While there is still a need for IPs in hospitals and other healthcare facilities, their services are also being sought outside of healthcare – helping to examine the bigger picture of disease prevention. For example, Infection Preventionists ask broader questions, such as how infection prevention looks in a particular region. How do IPs follow, trace, and document an increase in infection in a specific area? Infection preventionists are helping to answer these questions on a larger scale outside hospitals and long-term care facilities.


How has the demographic of Infection Preventionists changed since the pandemic?

The pandemic exposed that infection prevention is not a one size fits all discipline. IPs are merging grounded science with new clinical approaches. As a result, the profession is now expanding to include disciplines like project managers, surveillance, and bio-informaticists. These disciplines add a piece to the infection prevention framework, helping to improve and build upon the capabilities of IPs.


How is COVID-19 driving the training of future infection preventionists?

IPs have used the COVID-19 pandemic as a template for applying new infection prevention procedures and methods. As COVID-19 continues to pose a serious threat, it isn’t the only disease IPs track. IPs help prevent several hospital and healthcare-associated infections by applying universal and evidence-based policies and procedures such as the safe sterilization of surgical equipment, monitoring, and managing facility water treatment, or proper maintenance of water systems.


Are IP students seeing success after graduation?

Graduates of UPs Infection Prevention & Epidemiology program hit the ground running. Graduates are wanted in various roles across different facilities and practices. In recent years, UPs program has had several graduates reach out to the program in the hopes of returning as faculty or instructors within the program, all because they see how understaffed the field is and how much of a need there is for IPs.


What does the future hold for infection protectionists?

There has been an explosion in the need for infection preventionists over the last couple of years. COVID-19 set the stage for the relevance of IPs. Today’s healthcare executives and hospital boards are finding ways to come up with the money to pay for IPs because of their essential role.

Explore our Master of Science in Infection Prevention & Epidemiology program to learn more about the skills you’ll learn, courses you’ll take, and requirements for admission.