What is the role of an Infection Control Practitioner?


10th Mar 2021




The role of an Infection Control Practitioner has been thrust firmly into the media spotlight, driven by the Covid outbreak which has heavily impacted ‘normal life.’

People who work within this field play an integral part in disease prevention within hospitals, healthcare facilities and a wide range of other environments. If you are looking to work in this sector it is important that you possess excellent research and investigative skills, alongside a firm grasp of the main policies within public health.

The educational background people possess before reaching this carer can be quite varied. It is very frequent for registered nurses to progress into this position, utilising their knowledge of epidemiological and public health practices alongside their administrative experience.  It is also becoming increasingly common that laboratory trained scientists are moving into this field, particularly as the focus shifts towards laboratory expertise and regulatory compliance.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in this field, we have provided some further information below to help you find out more.


What work experience background is required?

 If you are looking to progress to an infection control role, generally speaking, you should already be working as a healthcare professional. The most usual progression route is made by those already working as an Infection Control Nurse, Environmental Health Officer or other healthcare professional with responsibility for infection control.

However, in order to secure a position of an Infection Control Practitioner (ICP), a postgraduate qualification is also quite regularly required. A degree in this industry is extremely valuable because it will broaden your understanding of clinical microbiology, which underpins much of the activity needed to keep patients safe. However, it is important for many other professionals in this sector, as the prevention and control of infections is the responsibility of all healthcare workers.


What are the responsibilities?

There is a wide range of different roles and responsibilities that may sit with you as an Infection Control Practitioner. You will be required to have knowledge and understanding of the latest infection control practices and be able to develop and implement proactive strategies to reduce the spread of infections. You may likewise need to perform a reactive role, responding appropriately to an outbreak of infection within your local community. This often involves taking a level of responsibility when it comes to the setting of policies, engaging with clinicians and policy makers.

You could similarly take on duties within other areas, including taking the lead with vaccination coordination projects, conducting health data analysis and patient education and training. The examples given above are far from an exhaustive list. The ongoing pandemic has highlighted the need for flexibility from those working in this sector.


How an MSc Infection Control degree can help you move into this field?

Our 100% online and part-time programme goes into great detail discussing and defining the nature of communicable disease. You will learn how to develop strategies for the surveillance, control and prevention of infection within the local community that you serve.

The degree aims to develop your understanding of the scientific concepts that underpin infection control. It works towards achieving this target by providing a contemporary perspective to the principles, measures and policies relating to infection control and quality improvement.

One of the benefits of this course is the option to tailor the modules you study in line with both your desired career route and your interests. Dependent on the modules you choose you might look into:

  • Health Promotion
  • Advanced Practice in Healthcare
  • Epidemiology

Each one of these modules has been designed to help you develop practical knowledge and skills to support you in making a difference in your chosen healthcare specialism. This could include helping you gain a more senior position in Infection Control, Environmental Health or many other healthcare professions.


Where can I expect to work?

As has been made blatantly clear by the latest pandemic, infectious diseases do not respect international borders or community areas. As travel between countries became increasingly accessible, disease has been able to spread more quickly across borders than ever before. As such trying to tackle the spread of disease is truly a focus for professionals the world over. The need for infection control awareness has increased in recent years with outbreaks of HIV and Ebola and the ongoing pandemic.

As this concern is only set to intensify it does mean that the demand for skilled and knowledgeable practitioners is consistent across the world. By working in this field, you would be free to work in almost any country and in many health-related environments, including hospitals, communities, nursing homes, schools and more.

Many national and international organisations regularly recruit Infection Control Practitioners, including the NHS, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US, Public Health England and the World Health Organization.


Are you interested to find out more?

Our MSc Infection Control is the perfect pathway to a career in this area. Delivered as an online course, the MSc Infection Control gives you the flexibility to study while you continue to work. It also allows you to interact with other infection control specialists throughout the UK and internationally.

To find out more about this programme and how it can help you to progress why not download our prospectus? Alternatively, you can apply now to get started completing your studies.