Australian Infection Control Association members' use of skills and resources that promote evidence-based infection control

Cathryn L. Murphy*, M. L. McLaws

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: To adopt an evidence-based approach, professionals must be able to access, identify, interpret, and critically appraise best evidence. Critical appraisal requires essential skills, such as computer literacy and an understanding of research principles. These skills also are required for professionals to contribute to evidence. Methods: In 1996, members of the Australian Infection Control Association were surveyed to establish a profile including the extent to which they were reading infection control publications, using specific documents for policy and guideline development, developing and undertaking research, publishing research, and using computers. The relationships between demographics, computer use, and research activity were examined. Results: The response rate was 63.4% (630/993). The study group comprised mostly women (96.1%), and most (66.4%) were older than 40 years of age. Median infection control experience was 4 years (mean, 5.4 years; range, <12 months to 35 years). When developing guidelines and policies (92.7%; 584/630), infection control professionals reviewed State Health Department Infection Control Guidelines and Regulations. Research relating to infection control was undertaken by 21.5% (135/628) of the sample, and 27.6% (37/134) of this group published their research findings. Of the respondents (51.1%; 318/622) who used a computer to undertake infection control tasks, the majority (89.0%) used a personal computer for word processing. Conclusion: Regardless of infection control experience, Australian infection control professionals must be adequately prepared to contribute to, access, appraise, and where appropriate, apply best evidence to their practice. We suggest that computer literacy, an understanding of research principles, and familiarity with infection control literature are three essential skills that infection control professionals must possess and regularly exercise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-122
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Infection Control
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


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