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Hand sanitising

Current work

More information on the RCN's involvement with infection prevention and control and antimicrobial resistance

Aseptic technique

Following member feedback, the RCN is undertaking a programme of work on the education and the application of aseptic technique in practice across all care settings.

This work has to date:

  • Built on RCN members feedback and requests to explore aseptic technique from a holistic perspective
  • Worked with nurses to explore experiences of asepsis and aseptic technique in practice
  • Published a report ‘Understanding Aseptic Technique’
  • Used a Delphi methodology to explore definitions and language associated with asepsis and aseptic technique to begin the process of agreeing a common vocabulary to support nursing practice
  • Commissioned in-depth interviews to explore results of the delphi study and inform the next phase of work to support education and nursing practice on aseptic technique
  • Explored how procurement decisions impact on aseptic technique in practice
  • Linked current RCN activity on glove use and sustainability to the aseptic technique programme.

An RCN report on the outcomes of the qualitative study will be available shortly. 

In December 2022 the RCN hosted a multi-professional round table to share the results of our work to date and discuss options to improve the education of nursing and midwifery and allied health professional education on aseptic technique. The outcomes of this will be made available soon.


PPE Innovation (England) 

The RCN continues to support PPE innovation through work with NHS Supply Chain in England. The RCN is actively supporting options on the future development of reusable personal protective equipment for items such as respiratory PPE.

Leadership and professional advice

The RCN, through the professional lead for Infection Prevention and Control (IPC), provides visible and clinical leadership in support of Infection Prevention and Control and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). In addition to our strategic activity, we work to ensure that any resources we develop add value to our members and stakeholders, do not duplicate existing available information, complement the work of others and are quality assured.

The RCN hosts a generic IPC Network which supports the delivery of RCN focused projects or resources involving the prevention of infection. A new IPC network to support nurses and others working with Children and Young people (CYP) was launched in 2017. Additionally, the RCN is actively involved in strategic work programmes and stakeholder or expert reference group meetings to influence and develop policy on Healthcare Associated Infections, and AMR for all countries of the UK. This work closely aligns with RCN activity supporting patient safety, quality improvement and sepsis recognition and management.

Specific examples of current, strategic work we are undertaking or supporting that impacts on the prevention of infection include:

  • Developing a new professional development course to support education in infection prevention and control (launched November 2018)
  • Aligning RCN activity on antimicrobial resistance to IPC work 
  • RCN Glove Awareness week activity and work
  • Supporting the NHS to develop and launch a massive open online course (MOOC) on appropriate glove use. This is available through the NHS QI Learning hub. It is freely available to all and only requires a simple registration.
  • Supporting the Care Quality Commission (England) in the development of its new regulatory framework and inspection programme through its co-production programme
  • NHS Improvement Prevention of Healthcare Associated Gram-Negative Blood Stream Infections programme
  • Membership of the European Network to Promote Infection Prevention for Patient Safety (EUNETIPS)
IPC network

IPC network

More information on the RCN's infection prevention and control network and how you can get involved.
Facebook group

RCN Children and Young People IPC Network

This Network exists to support nursing staff who work with Children and Young people who have responsibilities for or an interest in Infection Prevention and Control. 

Antimicrobial resistance

Our work supporting efforts to reduce the risk of AMR is diverse and more detail can be found on our Antimicrobial resistance page.

  • Membership of the One Health Stakeholder Group
  • Advising the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) on the development and implementation of their AMR strategy
  • Membership of the English surveillance programme for antimicrobial utilisation and resistance (ESPAUR) group
  • Activities supporting European Antibiotic Awareness day and World Antibiotic Awareness Week
  • Development and implementation of new rapid diagnostics
  • Development of a new BSI standard for antimicrobial impregnated surfaces.



Antimicrobial stewardship

Antimicrobial resistance is recognised as a global health and economic threat. Nursing has a key role in supporting efforts to reduce this threat as a central part of the healthcare and public health workforce. Our RCN focus is currently on supporting the role of nursing and midwifery through antimicrobial stewardship (AMS), working with the University of Cardiff and Universities delivering nursing education to explore curricula and the inclusion of AMS within this.


In 2013 the RCN joined OneTogether, a global movement aimed at improving patient safety by reduce preventable health care associated infections (HCAIs).

OneTogether is a collaboration of professional associations and industry partners with the joint aim of improving patient outcomes.

Despite continued focus on infection prevention, HCAIs remain an ongoing threat to patient safety and a significant drain on health service budgets. By facilitating joint working and connecting resources and expertise, OneTogether aims to empower the health care community to deliver a sustainable change in HCAI incidence.

Read about OneTogether


Page last updated - 28/07/2023