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 UK is currently experiencing an increase in respiratory illness associated with viral infections including influenza. This expected increase is causing challenges to NHS care providers and the capacity to admit patients. The RCN is receiving enquiries from members regarding influenza and a summary position has been developed to support current common enquiries.Members should refer to their nation health agencies for specific information on the number of influenza cases and guidance:
Find out more about the RCN's introductory module to infection prevention and control.