Education and training in infection prevention and control: Exploring support for national standards
Ruth Barratt, Gwendolyn L Gilbert
Infection, Disease and Health, published online 16 January 2021. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.idh.2020.12.002
Effective infection prevention and control (IPC) programmes comprise a hierarchy of preventive measures, one of which is appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE). A poor understanding of the role of PPE and sub-optimal use may fail to prevent or even increase pathogen transmission during routine care or an infectious disease outbreak. Variability in delivery and content of IPC and PPE education and training across organisations can lead to confusion, unsafe practice, and lack of confidence among clinicians. In a national survey we explored the perspectives of Australian and New Zealand IPC professionals on the value and feasibility of a national IPC training and monitoring programme to improve and standardise PPE practice and raise the profile of IPC.
A population-based online survey that examined hospital PPE training programmes was distributed to members of three major Australasian organisations representing IPC professionals. Quantitative results of the survey have been reported previously. This paper is a qualitative analysis of responses to two open-ended questions about a national approach to training in IPC and the use of PPE.
Most respondents agreed that standardising IPC and PPE training could achieve more consistent practice nationally, supported through the provision of educational resources. Including competency in the use of PPE in mandatory IPC standards would assist in improving the practice and raising the profile of IPC more generally.
The results of this study suggest that that there is support for national programmes and standards for use of PPE in Australia and New Zealand.