Can I Work as an Infectious Disease Specialist?

  1. Hello all. I was wondering if there is a nursing path to specialize in infectious diseases, similar to what infectious disease specialists (MDs) do. I'm not talking about infection control nursing. I'm talking about diagnosing and treating the infections that are not commonly treated by primary healthcare providers. Thank you in advance.
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  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   Dodongo
    The ID service at my hospital has a couple NPs. So, I would say, yes.
  4. by   np830
    Sure, if they are willing to train you since we do not learn this in school obviously and it's a huge learning curve. Be careful about what the job is, as some may just want you following up to make sure patients are taking their extended IV antibiotics, which is mostly f/up with visiting nursing associations that the docs don't want to do.
    Some may train you to do HIV care or bread and butter joint infections. I doubt you'd be working up anything very strange as that goes to the fellows and seasoned docs. ID specialists are often the last specialists patients see when NO ONE else can figure cases out.
  5. by   Daryl_G
    Absolutely,
    I currently work in Infectious Disease under a collaboration between the state dept of health and a local academic university/hospital. The most important thing to know is you function as a investigator on many cases and this requires a lot of self-motivated learning on our part.

    To give an example, this month alone just for the local health dept.
    I have managed pt's w/ or given inservice/trainings on tuberculosis, non-mycobacteria tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS (and all the treatment issues that surround this), Zika, Hansen's disease, neurosyphillis, Hep C. This doesn't include my time doing inpatient care when rotating through the academic hospital (level 1 trauma so we see it all). You have to become familiar with second or third-line therapies, and look at the patient's entire medical Hx. and treatments. You have to truly learn how to read results of test, no more skipping to the positive/not positive line on a lab report.

    I did not know what I was getting into when I started and it was tuff at first but I love it.
    This is not a area where you work completely independent at the ARNP level at all times so be aware of that, cases can be very complicated and frankly require an seasoned ID doc or docs to assist. And you have to know when a case is beyond your ability to manage early on as you can cause more harm than good delaying and fiddling around.

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