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.
The RCN is also engaged in the following antimicrobial resistance work.
Each year, as part of World Antibiotic Awareness Week, the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) leads a European focus on antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
As nurses, we contribute in many ways to efforts to reduce the threat of AMR, including the prevention of infection through to administering and prescribing antibiotics, commissioning of services and educating the public, patients and their carer’s. The RCN is very involved in AMR activity across the UK and internationally and we fully support the ‘OneHealth’ approach to managing and protecting antibiotics for both human and animals.
As a member of a newly formed AMR Alliance working jointly in human and animal health, we have endorsed a video developed by the Bella Moss Foundation explaining the importance of AMR. This video succinctly explains the importance of appropriate antibiotic use as part of a ‘OneHealth’ approach.
Find out more about the RCN's introductory module to infection prevention and control.