not been previously profiled. Knowledge of their practice is limited, making support and evaluation of their programs difficult. To investigate the current role, function, and attributes of this group, we undertook a national survey of members of the Australian Infection Control Association. Methods: In 1996 a questionnaire was sent to all 1078 nonmedical and nonindustry members of the Australian Infection Control Association. More than half (65%) of the membership responded to the questionnaire, which measured demographics, experience, infection control training and education, staffing levels, perceived deficits, and managerial support. Results: Our results indicate that the typical Australian ICP works in a public acute-care facility with fewer than 251 beds, has 6 years experience in the field, and has completed hospital-based nursing training. Surveillance was the activity that consumed most of the ICPs' time. The majority of ICPs had responsibilities in addition to infection control, and although they considered management to be supportive, additional clerical support was identified as an area for program improvement. Conclusions: We have provided the first comprehensive profile of Australian ICPs and their practices. Our findings compel professional associations, such as the Australian Infection Control Association, to address the following: standardization in practice and surveillance, provision of appropriate training and ongoing education, and encouragement of research initiatives by infection control staff. These strategies are the key to future evidence-based infection control and will ensure survival of this specialty in Australia.