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Ten Things Every Infection Preventionist (IP) Needs To Know

Infection preventionists (IPs) are responsible for preventing and containing infectious diseases throughout the healthcare continuum. Through evidence-based practice, critical thinking, enhanced data analysis, and targeted research,IPs play a significant role in the safety of our healthcare systems, patients, doctors, nurses, administrators, facility workers, and visitors.

Infection preventions apply advanced skills in mathematics, science, health industry knowledge, and public health and safety protocols to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. In addition, infection preventionist provide industry-specific, up-to-date guidance on combatting new diseases through collaborative policy and targeted measures. Working in infection prevention and epidemiology requires, among other skills, quick thinking, enhanced problem-solving, and strong communication.

A career as an Infection preventionist offers a rewarding path in a rapidly growing discipline. To become an infection preventionist, it is essential to understand the skills IPs need and how they are applied. Continue reading to explore ten things every infection preventionists needs to know.


10 Things Every Infection Preventionists (IPs) Need to Know


  • Foundational Understanding of Infection Prevention

A career in infection prevention requires more than a basic understanding of health safety measures and disease mitigation. Infection preventionists must understand how and why diseases spread – starting with how diseases form, mutate, and interact with humans. A strong understanding of these foundations will help IPs identify disease characteristics, how they contract and mutate, and how best to prevent their spread.

  • Strong Historical Knowledge

A historical understanding of diseases is vital in tracking how outbreaks start, spread, and evolve. Diseases have come and gone throughout history, with many of the world’s most dangerous now largely eradicated or controlled in the United States. Years of research, analysis, and evidence-based practice have developed strong guidance in what can be done to prevent epidemics in the future. An IPs understanding of a disease’s historical, scientific, and biological foundations is a must-have competency for policy and practice implementation.

  • Healthcare-Specific Industry Knowledge

Infection preventionists must have a strong understanding of healthcare-specific knowledge. Specifically, infection preventionists must be familiar with their specific institution or industry’s existing health safety systems and policies, as well as protocols for disease prevention. Understanding past and present health and safety protocols will help infection preventionists better understand an outbreak and how best to mitigate it.

  • Analysis & Informatics

Data and analytics are the backbones of infection preventionists work. A strong understanding of health informatics – the acquisition, processing, analysis, and implementation of patient data – will make drawing connections and understanding research studies much more manageable. Infection preventionists must understand core data science and data analysis fundamentals to spot trends in data and translate them into usable applications.

  • Technology & Programs

Infection prevention is a heavy math-based field – requiring a confident command of statistics and data analysis. However, not all calculations can be performed on paper. Advanced calculations and data analysis requires a strong understanding of technology and its use in advanced problem-solving. IPs must be comfortable with technology to effectively communicate, translate, and apply trends within their industry.

  • Critical Thinking

Accessing and working through data is one thing – knowing what to do with it is another. Infection preventionists often work with complex illnesses, continuously evolving guidance, and tricky legal and administrative policies; Infection preventionists must adapt quickly to this ever-evolving landscape by applying retroactive changes on short notice and thinking beyond the immediate scope of practice. All require enhanced critical thinking skills.

  • Problem-Solving

Problem-solving is critical when addressing crises and leadership decisions, especially infection prevention. Based on industry knowledge and confidence in understanding disease and health policy, critical thinking will help guide more advanced, targeted decision-making among IPs and their collaborators – opening doors to new mitigation strategies, methodologies, and evidence-based approaches to infection prevention.

  • Cross-Industry Knowledge

The COVID-19 pandemic boosted industries seeking guidance and support from infection preventionists of companies now looking to protect their employees, customers, and communities. While IPs were found primarily working in healthcare or public health settings, they’re now seeing themselves emerging into other industries and disciplines.

  • Communication Skills

Today’s infection preventionists must carry strong communication skills to effectively articulate and translate the needs and concerns of emerging industries and apply the necessary changes on a preventative or crisis basis. Not only must IPs communicate industry-specific needs to other IPs and collaborators, but they must also translate highly technical data and health strategies to those unfamiliar with medical vernacular. All IPs must have strong communication, leadership, and listening skills.

  • Current Healthcare Trends

Infection preventionists must be familiar with active health conditions, current disease strains, and protective guidelines issued by the CDC or NIH. Infection preventionists must also stay current on the latest educational and industry research, data, and evidence to best apply or retract specific guidance within healthcare or an emerging field when issued. Keeping a finger on the pulse of public health policy and guidance allows IPs to make informed, current decisions in the best interest of patients, customers, or employees.


Learn These Skills & More at the University of Providence

There is a lot to learn before becoming an Infection preventionists. Programs like the University of Providence’s Masters of Science in Infection Prevention and Epidemiology (MSI) offer advanced infection prevention training, preparing students for an exciting and rewarding career.


What Does the University of Providence’s MSI Program Teach?

The University of Providence’s program teaches various skills that infection prevention will apply throughout their careers. With expert faculty, industry-leading courses, and partnerships, our program will provide a guided education addressing many of the core competencies in the field:

– Evaluate the application of epidemiologic methods to answer public health questions

– Synthesize epidemiologic literature

– Understand and apply principles of ethical conduct

– Analyze quantitative and qualitative data

– Interpret results of data analysis for public health research


What Are Some Highlights of the Program?

The MSI program offers a unique set of benefits to our students through industry-specific internships, affordability and scholarship opportunities, and exciting health partnerships.


– Our courses don’t just teach skills; they turn students into career-ready change agents ready to learn and adapt to a complex, rapidly changing field.

– Courses are offered online in an asynchronous format. Lectures, curricula, and courses are designed and taught by working professionals for working professionals.

– Our partnership with Providence St. Joseph Health offers unique access to internships, facilities, and employment networks for enhanced learning and career opportunities.

– With already competitive tuition rates, students can access multiple scholarship opportunities that could significantly reduce tuition.

– Providence St. Joseph Caregivers can receive additional discounts and tuition reimbursement through caregiver benefits and educational advancement opportunities.


Today’s infection preventionists must be fast, skilled, versatile, and passionate about the benefits of infection prevention and the industry they serve. With new and exciting opportunities popping up daily, it’s never been a better time to earn your advanced degree today.


Learn more about the University of Providence’s Online Master of Science in Infection Prevention and Epidemiology, explore our Infection Prevention and Epidemiology curriculum, or get your future career started today by checking out how to apply or apply.