Polish infection control nurses – Self-assessment of their duties and professional autonomy in different types of hospitals
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State Higher Vocational School, Tarnów, Poland (Health Department)
Jagiellonian University Medical College, Kraków, Poland (Faculty of Medicine, Chair of Microbiology)
Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Kraków University, Poland (Faculty of Medicine and Health)
Online publication date: 2018-11-23
Corresponding author
Anna Różańska   

Jagiellonian University Medical College, Faculty of Medicine, Chair of Microbiology, Czysta 18, 31-121 Kraków, Poland
Med Pr 2018;69(6):605–612
Background: The objective of the study is self-assessment of Polish infection control nurses (ICNs) in terms of the structure of professional tasks and autonomy of decision-making. Material and Methods: A questionnaire survey was filled out by 208 ICNs (around 21% of all Polish ICNs) in 15 provinces located in Poland. The research encompassed ICNs surveillance healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in 2014. Results: The work time that ICNs devote to professional tasks and decision autonomy on the scale of 1–100% was as follows: 34% (67% of decision autonomy) was dedicated to detecting and registering HAIs, 12% (71%) – internal control, 10% (58%) – devising and implementing infection prevention practices, 10% (68%) – staff trainings, 8% (65%) – identification and study of outbreaks, 7% (58%) – promoting hand hygiene, 6% (51%) – consults with infected patients, 4% (57%) – consults on decontamination, 4% (54%) – consults on maintaining cleanliness, 3% (51%) – isolation and application of personal protective measures, 2% – other tasks. Infection prevention and control nurses estimated, on average, that their autonomy of decisions concerning the professional tasks performed amounted to 60%. Conclusions: Infection control nurses in Poland have difficulty in achieving balance between tasks they perform and the authority they exercise. The ICN professional task structure is dominated by duties associated with monitoring hospital infections, however, the greatest decision autonomy is visible regarding internal control. Decision-making concentrated on internal control may hinder building a positive image of an ICN. We should strive to firmly establish professional tasks and rights of ICNs in legislation concerning performing the duties of a nurse and midwife. Med Pr 2018;69(6):605–612