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Infection Prevention Control

Infection prevention and control

Infection prevention and control is the clinical application of microbiology in practice. The RCN considers this area to be key to quality, patient safety and governance systems and an integral element of reducing antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

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.


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 and the COVID-19 vaccination pages for all the relevant information and links.

Further resources

For travel advice, please see:

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.

Clinical supplies

Travel health

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