exploring this as a future specialty


Hello all,

I will be starting nursing school in the spring. For almost 20 years now, I have been a "fan," if you will, of infectious diseases. When my kids were little, I came across the book "The Coming Plague" and I was introduced to viral hemorrhagic fevers. Ebola captivated me. I was hooked. I read all the information I can get my hands on, regarding infectious diseases. When I met Peter Jahrling (head of the Emerging Infectious Disease division at NIAID) earlier this year, it was like a fangirl moment. I discovered some of the customers at my store were Ebola researchers, and they became heroes to me. I thought I loved A&P, but then I took Micro, and I was in love!

Fast forward to now. My kids are all teenagers which will make it easier to go to nursing school. I had toyed with the idea of becoming a Nurse Midwife, but as much as I love birth, I love infectious diseases even more. With my layperson friends, I can easily conversations towards topics related to bacteria, viruses, disease outbreak history, and infection prevention. They patiently put up with me. I would love nothing more than to be in Liberia right now, working in an Ebola hospital. In light of the current Ebola outbreak, and the vast amounts of misinformation and lack of knowledge out there, I think Infection Control or Infectious Disease nursing is desperately needed, and I think that is the right field for me.

I am pretty much just looking for general feedback and information. I know it sounds ignorant that I was unaware of this field until recently. All the nurses I know work in hospitals or with cardiac care- things I am not really interested in. I considered research nursing, since I am within close proximity to NIH, NIAID, Hopkins, and NCI. But now that I know nurses can work in the field of infectious disease, I think I have found my niche.

What sort of special training do you need? I am not yet eligible for CBIC certification. I am planning on going on to earn my Masters (or DNP, as I think that is where Maryland is heading.) Is an advanced degree necessary? What options are available to BSN's? What do you like about what you do? What is important to know before pursuing infectious disease nursing or infection control? What can I do to prepare myself for a career in this field? I will be grateful for any information you are kind enough to share!

Thank you for your time!


7,735 Posts

Specializes in retired LTC.

Don't know if you know about APIC, the professional association for IC practitioners. I'm unsure but you probably can join as an interested nursing student. There usually are local chapters you can attend meetings and network.

And just to put a bug in your ear, you may want to consider directing your advanced educational direction towards an MPH, singularly or as a dual educational degree.

If you are interested in a nursing career, you will have to start at step 1 doing the basic BSN route. But there are personnel from different disciplines that go the biology route (not nursing).

That's why APIC may be of informational value to you.


74 Posts

Specializes in Infection Control, Med/Surg, LTC. Has 41 years experience.

Some basic med/surge experience would also be good. Can only take the CBIC after working as an ICP for 2 years. I was CIC for 19 years. This after I had worked med/surge for 11years, ICU for 5 and was a nursing supervisor for 8. The new trend seems to be a Nurse Practitioner. Been out of the field for 6 years now. Got so tired of the rat race to please OSHA, JCAHO, CDC, CMS. Was also the EHN. Maintain a continuing interest in the field and still get job offers for it, but would never do it again. My educational background is a 3year hospital based diploma grad. Sat on my state APIC board for several years until hosp cut my full time to 4/5 time as a cost saving measure. And I was the sole practitioner. Then was gifted with 2 JCAHO indicator studies and one for CMS: all chart abstracts plus data entry. So, do more in less time! Neighboring facility also cut their ICPs time and she ran for the hills shortly after me. And had just taken her CBIC for the first time.


74 Posts

Specializes in Infection Control, Med/Surg, LTC. Has 41 years experience.

PS: also loved the Coming Plague. Read The Hot Zone and Dr Close's account of the first outbreak in Kinshasa. And yes he is actress Glenn Close's dad. He was there when the first outbreak occurred. Another interesting account is The Spanish Lady, about the 1918 Influenza Pandemic. And yes, I would have killed to work for the CDC!