Infectious Disease Nursing

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    Infectious Disease Nursing encompasses many aspects of nursing such as bedside care, community nursing, case management and public health. As more and more superbugs are found, the need for ID nurses will grow. Many skill sets are used in ID nursing and use of statistical measures

    Infectious Disease Nursing

    Infectious Disease (ID) Nursing is the nursing care of the patient with infections. However, it goes far beyond that and encompasses multi-drug resistant organisms (MDRO). As antibiotics have become so readily used over the years, we are now facing super-bugs. Only a few years ago, methicillin-resistant staph aureus (MRSA) was thought to be the scourge of the planet. However, we know now that there are far worse organisms. So, infectious disease nursing is more than just nursing of those patients with a simple infection.

    Workplace Environment

    The workplace can vary tremendously. You might be bedside collecting cultures from a critically ill patient. You might be at a computer, looking at culture results or gathering data for an infectious disease physician. You might also be explaining test results to patients and/or explaining precautions to patients and families for care that will be needed upon discharge. Some ID nurses also go into the community to perform education.

    Other ID nurses investigate nosocomial or hospital-acquired infections. Medicare/Medicaid and all insurance companies now penalize hospitals for nosocomial infections. Hospitals attempt to mitigate these penalties and count on their ID nurses to investigate and propose solutions to the problem of nosocomial infections.

    ID nurses can also be used in occupational health in the setting of evaluating test results for some employees that might have an infectious process. ID nurses can also play a role in employee flu shot programs. There are various positions and opportunities for infectious disease nurses.


    Most ID nurses in hospitals are at least bachelors prepared and many are masters prepared. ID nurses are usually very experienced and are stakeholders in a hospital system and knowledgeable about policies and procedures. Nurses that pursue a masters program often get a Masters in the Science of Nursing but might also obtain a Masters in Public Health. This would be one path to being an infectious disease nurse who educates the public.


    Some of the necessary qualities of the ID nurse are:
    • Analytical mind - the ability to go from A to B to C, incorporating complex data. You also need the math skills to incorporate statistical measures in your data. ID nurses can also use research methods to collect data and publish it. Many of these skills are attained through an advanced degree
    • Compassion - though the ID nurse deals with lots of data and facts and figures, it is always important to remember that behind this data, a patient and family awaits
    • Detail-oriented - goes without saying that in order to analyze this data, one must be able to separate out the extraneous from the vitally important

    Job Outlook

    As per the CDC articles, super bugs are continuing to grow as a menace to society's health and welfare. With this in mind, the outlook for nurses that have the knowledge to decipher data will be growing.

    Resources has an active Infectious Disease Forum

    CDC sounds alarm on deadly, untreatable superbugs

    Healthcare-associated Infections (HAI) - Updated list of superbugs from the CDC. This is a more detailed article suited for healthcare personnel.
    Last edit by traumaRUs on Jun 15, '18
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    About traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS Admin

    TraumaRus is an APN with over 21 years of nursing experience. As an APN for a nephrology practice, she often encounters drug resistance infections.

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  3. by   MadpeysRN
    Sounds pretty tempting after the shift I had last night..
  4. by   Career#24me
    Hello, I like the description of what an Infection Preventionist does in this article. Happy to say that I truly enjoy what I do as an IP.
  5. by   GregoryGeczi
    This is my specialization after I get my RN and MICN. I love nursing and I love studying infectious disease also.
  6. by   NGYSUN
    Is this the same as infection v control nursing?
  7. by   smilingbig
    I think it was meant to be; it's all semantics. As far as I know, the only nurses that I know that work in "Infectious Disease" work in an office for an Infectious Disease doctor. Infection Control Nurses are usually referred to 'Infection Preventionists.' Although, not all IPs are nurses.
  8. by   Proton
    Hey there, just curious if anyone knows of a good site to find more information on the specific duties of an infectious disease nurse?

    In the description it states that an ID nurse may collect specimens and "look at culture results" does that mean the ID nurses can obtain a certification that allows them to interpret results? Or is that sent to pathology, histology, etc?

    I am interested in this field, but still slightly unclear of how hands on an ID nurse can be.

    Thank you for your time.
    Last edit by Proton on Feb 4, '16

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