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Comment: Infection Prevention Society is launched

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September 2007 sees a significant development in the field of infection prevention and control, with the launch of the Infection Prevention Society (IPS) across the UK and Ireland. This exciting development completes the transformation of the Infection Control Nurses Association (ICNA) into an organisation that welcomes as full members all professionals who are working in the field of infection prevention and control.

The ICNA was formed in 1970 to provide a network for infection control nurses to meet and share learning together. Over the past 37 years it has grown to become the leading nursing organisation in the field of infection prevention and control, with many clinical nurses joining as associate members. In 2006 the membership of the ICNA recognised that many other disciplines and roles have emerged within the field of infection prevention and control and that people working in these would benefit from collaborating with each other via membership of the same organisation.

Although infection prevention and control nurses will, no doubt, remain the backbone of IPS – as they are within the infection control team in the workplace – it is hoped that many new members will join from other professions. For the first time, many of these professions can come together – link practitioners, directors of infection prevention and control, infection control managers, infection control doctors, audit and surveillance practitioners, antimicrobial pharmacists, scientists and educationalists as well as researchers can all join IPS as full members.

As full members it is hoped that many of these professionals will go on to become active members of the new society, helping to shape its direction. Combining such expertise in one organisation can not only provide benefits for all but also will serve to facilitate the embedding of an infection prevention culture in healthcare.

The ICNA has achieved recognition as the leading nursing organisation in the field of infection prevention and control and its expertise is sought by government, voluntary and commercial bodies. This expertise will be further enhanced through the expanded membership of the IPS. We invite you to join us as a member of this exciting new society, and help us shape the future of infection prevention as we move into a new era.

Judy Potter, is Iead nurse/director of infection control, Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, Exeter.

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