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Infection Preventionist Starter Kit: Getting Started

This interactive, web-based “starter kit” provides infection preventionists (IPs) with background information, resources, and examples for some of their many infection prevention-related responsibilities. This kit dives into topic areas selected by experienced IPs across the continuum of care including: 

This page includes an overview of the IP Starter Kit and some tips for getting started as an IP. This is not a replacement for any facility-specific orientation, but rather a supplement to enhance your learning.

Getting started as an IP

It can be hard to know where to start when beginning a new role as an IP. Expand the tabs below for tips on getting started.

Person on a computer

You may be asked during a regulatory survey to prove your competence as an IP. There are different ways to achieve this depending on your work setting. Review infection prevention training options that may be offered through your risk management and legal department.

The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) provides a variety of course offerings. Both in-person and virtual options are available. Fees are associated.

View the IP Lunch and Learn: Infection Prevention Competencies webinar recording for additional information on IP training and competencies.

IP Lunch and Learn: Infection Prevention Competencies slides (PDF) are also available.

Nursing home specific IP training options

Develop an awareness of critical regulatory statutes or accreditations applicable to your job. Determine what regulatory body’s guidance you must follow to implement your infection prevention and control program. Some examples include:

Some metrics are required to be reported to the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). To learn more about data reported in NHSN, visit the DHS NHSN webpage or connect with the person(s) who completes this reporting at your facility.

If you have questions or require access to NHSN to fulfill reporting requirements, connect with the HAI Prevention Program’s Surveillance Coordinator at for support.

Fulfill reporting requirements outlined in Wis. Admin. Code ch. DHS 145. Many pathogens and disease processes require notification to your Wisconsin local public health officer.

The Wisconsin Electronic Disease Surveillance System (WEDSS) is used to electronically report these requirements. Connect with the person(s) in your facility who completes the facility’s required communicable disease reporting.

View reportable diseases and conditions in Wisconsin

Clipboard with a checklist and pen

Review essential documents and components of your facility’s existing infection prevention and control (IPC) program.

This could include elements such as your annual risk assessment, bloodborne pathogens plan, and respiratory protection program.

View components of an IP program

Four different healthcare professionals smiling

Meet with leaders of partner departments to introduce yourself. Ask to review any policies related to infection prevention and shadow employees performing duties related to infection prevention. Examples include housekeeping, laundry, nursing, decontamination, and meal preparation and serving.

At first, you may know little or even nothing at all about these departments and their functions. That’s okay. Ask a lot of questions. Hold back quick judgments at first so that you can understand workflows and processes before offering critiques (unless there is a threat or major concern that needs to be addressed immediately).

  IP tip: Keep record of your learning experiences, notes, and to-do lists in a notebook. Taking good notes is an essential part of being an IP, especially during investigations, meetings, and discussions, as you may need to refer to these often.

Review historical IPC data and surveillance reports at your facility. Identify IPC challenges your facility has experienced. Does your facility have a history of multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) or gaps in hand hygiene, for example.

Keep this information in mind when reviewing your existing IPC program and updating your risk assessment.

IPs may complete course(s) by recognized organizations, such as APIC, Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), and CDC.

In addition, maintain certifications such as Certification in Infection Control (CIC) or Long-Term Care Certification in Infection Prevention (LTC-CIP) by the Certification Board in Infection Control and Epidemiology (CBIC).

View healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) and IPC resources

Questions about HAIs? Contact us!

Phone: 608-267-7711 | Fax: 608-266-0049

 Next: Infection Prevention Programs


Last revised June 28, 2024