Infectious disease nursing is a unique, specialized area of practice. In this sector of nursing, you will help patients who have complicated and difficult infectious diseases. These illnesses are caused by viral, fungal, or bacterial microorganisms. If you want a rewarding, challenging career, consider infectious disease nursing.
Educational Requirements for Infectious Disease Nursing
There are many educational requirements for the infectious disease nurse as they handle many different things. It is important that these healthcare professionals know about communicable illnesses and how to properly care for patients. Infectious disease nurses are required to hold a four year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from an accredited program. After earning the degree, the student must take and pass the NCLEX-RN test. This allows for the use of the prestigious “RN” title of the registered nurse.
Many nurses who pursue infectious disease as a specialty practice earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree with a focus as a clinical nurse specialist (CNS). To gain acceptance into these programs, you must score well on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
Infectious Disease Nurse Certification
Certification is necessary in the field of infectious disease nursing, and you can receive credentials from the Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology (CBIC). Requirements to take the credentialing examination include:
- Hold an active license as a healthcare professional
- Have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree
- Current employment in infectious disease setting
- Experiences in infection prevention and control
Infectious Disease Nursing Career Opportunities and Salaries
Nurses who decide to work in this nursing sector must take special care and know how to protect themselves from obtaining the infectious diseases. The nurse must also know how to protect the patient from catching any additional diseases as well. The person who has been diagnosed has typically already spread the disease to others as the time of diagnosis, and incubation periods vary according to microorganism.
Infectious disease nurses may go out to quarantined and epidemic sites, which they consider and call “the field.” The nurse will provide hands on treatment to the patients. They also make sure to enforce safety measures and supervise care. According to most web sources, the current salary for an infectious disease nurse is $52,000 to $85,000 per year. This varies based on education, degree level, years of experience, and location of practice and worksite.
Job Duties of the Infectious Disease Nurse
Infectious diseases spread from person to person via the air that is breathed or through direct contact and transmission. These types of diseases are caused by pathogenic microorganisms like fungi, parasites, and viruses. Zoonotic diseases are a disease that is present in animals and can be transmitted to humans.
The job of an infectious disease nurse is to care for patients with these different types of diseases. Nurses are responsible for helping with patients who do not respond to treatment, helping with outbreaks and epidemics, and also diseases that require isolation. Nurses in this field must administer medications, monitor the patient for hemodynamic stability, investigate cause and transmission of illness, and provide basic nursing care.
Stone PW et al. of CDC (2004): http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/10/11/pdfs/04-0253.pdf