Russell says one of the best things a hospital can do to improve infection control monitoring is to hire a certified infection prevention official, as she is.
Most are nurses, but the category also includes microbiologists and physicians. Certification requires up to two years of training about infection control.
A recent study in California showed that only 89 of 174 control directors, about half, were certified in infection control, which suggests that evaluations of infections may not be as good as they should be.
Russell estimates that about one-third of hospitals nationwide have certified infection prevention officials. "It's like having a certified cardiologist or internist; it shows [that] this person is not the new kid on the block, but someone who has really delved into the issue and knows it," Russell says. "By being part of such a group, you are able to learn from each other and share what you are doing, or have done, to reduce (infection) rates—which another participant could also try."
The study in question was published in the March issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.
"We found that having an infection control director certified in infection prevention was associated with lower rates of MRSA bloodstream infections," Monika Pogorzelska, PhD, MPH, told HealthLeaders Media. She is associate research scientist, P-NICER study director at the Columbia University School of Nursing and a co-author of the study.