Hospital infection control changed significantly during the 20th century. Early programs of infection control focused on maintaining a clean environment. In addition, hospitals assigned a single individual the responsibility of tracking infection data in hospitals. Today, infection control is sophisticated as it is based on molecular analysis, disinfection, and vaccinations. The intention of infection control is to prevent patients from getting new infections when they visit hospitals.
Infection control is an area of nursing whose evidence changed during the 20th century. Prior to the 1950s, there were discussions on how hospitals could involve epidemiology to control infections in hospitals (Smith, Watkins & Hewlett, 2012). The hospitals resorted to assigning single individuals the responsibility of collecting data on hospital infections. The individuals assigned the duty was expected to have an academic background in bacteriology (Smith et al., 2012). Before long, hospitals realized the need to educate their hospital staff on good hygiene practices (Judd & Sitzman, 2014). Surveillance of hospital infections was subsequently enacted and policies and procedures developed. The initial programs to control infection during the century were focused on environment cleanliness (Smith et al., 2012). Quarantine and isolation were instituted after diseases such as smallpox and tuberculosis were reported in American hospitals.
During the 20th century, evidence emphasized the need to implement cohort nursing practice because patients with infectious diseases would be unknown by just looking at them. The evidence suggested the need to enact standards approaches to guide patient admission processes (Smith et al., 2012). Today hospitals rely on sophisticated data collection and molecular epidemiology analysis. Additionally, hospitals implement multiple vaccinations on patients and use antibiotics, advanced sterilization, and disinfection to control infections (Smith et al., 2012). Moreover, nurses keep the hospital environment clean and wear protective clothing when attending to patients. Additionally, nurses implement barrier precautions and encourage safe hand washing to minimize the spread of infections.
The progress made in the area of infection control has been amazing although infections continue posing risks to admitted patients. The early methods of controlling infections were to keep the hospital environment clean, assign individuals to track data, isolate, and quarantine infected people. This day, hospitals rely on sophisticated data collection methods, antibiotics, sterilization, and disinfection to control infections.
Judd, D., & Sitzman, K. (2014). A history of American nursing: Trends and eras (2nd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Smith, P., Watkins, K., & Hewlett, A. (2012). Infection control through the ages. American Journal of Infection Control, 40, 35-42.