Infection control is the name given to any acts which are performed with the intention of preventing or reducing the spread of infection or disease. These controls are an essential part of healthcare and public sanitation, and without these steps, healthcare emergencies can easily occur and disease can spread quickly. It is therefore important that infection control becomes an important part of the learning and educational process of everyone who works in the healthcare industry, from the cleaning staff, right through to the senior doctors.

Repetition when learning infection control

By integrating infection control into the learning process, and repeating the steps again and again as part of standard practice routines, these steps are able to become second nature to participants. Although it is important for most learners to understand why they are performing the actions that they are performing, the primary goal of repetition is to normalise the practices and to help to ingrain them as part of that participant's daily routine. This means that although some staff may not have enough medical understanding to know the exact reasons for each step, they will understand that these steps must be done, and they must be done to help to save lives.

Understanding justification for infection control

Although repetition without understand can help in many circumstances, understanding the reasoning behind infection control steps is also important for most people who work in healthcare. Once learners understand the reason behind the steps which they are being asked to complete, they may feel more able to critically engage with the topic at hand. For those who are learning about infection control as part of a higher level learning course, such as a nursing or medical degree, they may then be able to consider whether they have anything additional to add to the debate. This helps to allow for the progression of infection control, as new ideas are brought to the table and subsequently investigated.

Learning about the consequences of failure to comply

Although scare tactics are not widely favoured in education, it is important to understand what can happen if a single participant or a number of participants fail to comply with the proper infection control techniques. It is often useful for students to consider cases studies in which infection control techniques were not adhered to, so that they can see the consequences of these actions. For those who are active in hospital environments, it can also be helpful to put a human face to the discussion about infection control. For example, talking to patients who have compromised immune systems can help learners to understand how susceptible to disease that patient may be if proper infection control techniques are not observed.

Bringing the strands together

As with any sort of education program, it is important that all of the strands of learning are brought back together, so that learners are able to see the complete picture at the end. Learners should appreciate both the theoretical and practical aspects of effective infection control.

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