Masters Thesis

The challenges of California infection control officers in combating infection

Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) have been a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States, while also serving as a source of significant financial loss for American healthcare facilities. Along with HAIs, infections such as the newly introduced Ebola have brought new challenges to healthcare facilities in the U.S. Those who have been charged with the task of reducing such infections in these healthcare facilities have long been called Infection Control Officers (ICOs), until their recent name change to Infection Preventionists (IPs). With the emphasis now placed on preventing infection instead of controlling infection, IPs are faced with many new challenges. In researching the challenges of eight California IPs, it was found that IPs are faced with challenges that fall under the categories of attaining professional credibility, preparing others, and accomplishing goals. In answer to these challenges it was recommended that healthcare facilities provide IPs with training programs, increase the staffing of IPs, and redistribute sole responsibility for infections away from IPs and more toward the department heads.

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