1. Infection control professionals (ICPs) in Australia and New Zealand are involved in the implementation of a large number of national strategies to reduce healthcare-associated infections.
2. A survey of 300 ICPs found that they undertake a diverse range of activities as part of their roles, with some activities being undertaken less frequently by sole practitioners and ICPs in small teams.
3. The study provides useful information on the current education, experience levels, and scope of practice of ICPs in Australia and New Zealand, which can be used to establish mechanisms to support and potentially streamline scope of practice for optimized infection-control practice.
The article "Roles, responsibilities and scope of practice: describing the ‘state of play’ for infection control professionals in Australia and New Zealand" provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of the infection control professional (ICP) workforce in Australia and New Zealand. The study employed a cross-sectional design using snowball recruitment to collect data from 300 ICPs. The survey covered demographics, qualifications held, level of experience, workplace characteristics, and roles and responsibilities.
The article provides useful information on the current education, experience levels, and scope of practice of ICPs in Australia and New Zealand. However, there are some potential biases that need to be considered. Firstly, the study relied on self-reported data from ICPs who were willing to participate in the survey. This may have resulted in a biased sample as those who chose to participate may not be representative of all ICPs in Australia and New Zealand.
Secondly, the study did not explore potential differences between public and private healthcare settings or between different regions within Australia and New Zealand. This limits the generalizability of the findings as there may be significant variations in ICP roles and responsibilities across different settings.
Thirdly, while the study identified a diverse range of activities undertaken by ICPs as part of their roles, it did not explore how these activities are prioritized or how resources are allocated to support them. This is an important consideration as it may impact on the effectiveness of infection control programs.
Finally, while the article highlights the need for further work to establish mechanisms to support and potentially streamline scope of practice for ICPs, it does not provide any specific recommendations for how this might be achieved.
Overall, while this article provides valuable insights into the current state of play for ICPs in Australia and New Zealand, further research is needed to explore potential biases and limitations identified above. Additionally, future studies should aim to identify best practices for supporting effective infection control programs across different healthcare settings.