Role perception of infection control link nurses; a multi-centre qualitative study

Mireille Dekker*, Rosa van Mansfeld, Christina M. JE Vandenbroucke-Grauls, Tessa E. Lauret, Bernadette C. FM Schutijser, Martine C. de Bruijne, Irene P. Jongerden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Background: Infection control link nurses (ICLN) disseminate knowledge on infection prevention topics to their peers. Little is known about how they succeed and thereby contribute to infection prevention in daily practise. Aim: To explore the experiences of infection control link nurses regarding their role in acute care hospitals and identify perceived facilitators and best practices. Methods: We conducted a qualitative study with semi-structured individual and focus group interviews with ICLN. The effect of COVID-19 on the ICLN role was added as a topic in focus group interviews during the pandemic. Results: Twenty-six ICLN working in acute care hospitals were interviewed. ICLN perceived their role as to identify, monitor, facilitate and inform their colleagues on infection prevention topics related to their ward. Their experiences vary from feeling challenged and wonder how to get started, to feeling confident and taking initiatives that lead to ward-based improvements. When inspired by each other and supported by infection control practitioners or managers, ICLN feel empowered to initiate more activities to improve practice. During the COVID-19 pandemic, ICLN felt their responsibilities were magnified. When transferred to another ward, the focus on the ICLN role seemed dispersed. Discussion: Empowered ICLN adjust and operationalize infection prevention policies to fit the conditions of their specific wards and provide practical instructions and feedback to their peers which enable better compliance to infection prevention policies. Support and inspiration from other ICLN, infection control practitioners and management contribute to this empowerment and consequently to taking impactful initiatives to improve practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-100
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Infection Prevention
Volume23
Issue number3
Early online date2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

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