Infection prevention and control
Infection or disease may be caused by bacteria, fungi, viruses or prions and can result in a wide variety of infections, for example, urinary tract, wound, respiratory, blood, bone and skin infections.
Not all infections are transmissible but some, such as C. difficile, influenza and norovirus have the potential to spread from one patient to another, causing outbreaks of infection with serious implications for health care organisations, facilities or nursing homes. Understanding how infections occur and how different microorganisms act and spread is crucial to their prevention in all settings, not just health and social care.
The RCN is actively involved in infection prevention issues and practice to support improvements in nursing practice and patient outcomes across the UK. Activity takes place on a national, regional and local level, ranging from representation at national forums, meetings, stakeholder events and site visits to members' workplaces.
Our work in the field of AMR is diverse and compliments our IPC activity. By focusing specifically on the nursing role in preventing the development or spread of infection, and our commitment as part of the inter-professional contribution to antimicrobial stewardship, the RCN is a key leader and influencer nationally and internationally in this area.
More information on specific AMR activity can be found in the current work section.
Small Changes, Big Differences
We believe that the nursing team should be involved in the procurement of clinical supplies. Find out more about Small Changes, Big Differences.
The RCN provides advice and guidance for nurses on travel health.
Information on what sepsis is and how to recognise the signs of sepsis early and raise the alarm to enable prompt identification and treatment
This is a rapidly evolving situation which we are monitoring carefully, the advice is being updated as new information is received. It is essential to use the links provided and make sure you are looking at the most current advice. As information is changing all the time please refer to online guidance.
Please see: Clinical guidance for managing COVID-19 for all the relevant information and links.
For travel advice, please see:
- NaTHNaC, PHE and FCO. Current COVID-19 advice with links to international information sources (2 October 2020)
- NaTHNaC. COVID-19. General advice for travellers
- NHS Scotland. Fitfortravel - COVID-19: Health Considerations for Travel
- Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow Faculty of Travel Medicine. The operational delivery of travel health services in the UK in light of the COVID-19 pandemic
- TravelHealthPro. COVID-19 resources for healthcare professionals and travellers. Resources include information from NaTHNaC, PHE and the FCO with links to international information
Find out more about the RCN's introductory module to infection prevention and control.
Related to infection prevention and control:
Professional lead for infection prevention and control:
- One Together. OneTogether aims to raise the profile of infection prevention and the scientific data supporting the practice and engage healthcare professionals and institutions to make a difference at every level to reduce SSI and improve patient outcomes. Visit their website.
- Public Health England, 24 September 2018. PHE to issue antimicrobial resistance alerts to inform microbiologists of emerging antimicrobial-resistant pathogen strains
- Public Health England, 13 November 2017. Health matters: preventing infections and reducing antimicrobial resistance