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Impact of an online course on infection control and prevention competencies


L. Atack: e-mail:


Title. Impact of an online course on infection control and prevention competencies.

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study to examine the impact of an online course on nurses’ and allied healthcare professionals’ competency in infection prevention and control and the influence of organizational climate on knowledge transfer.

Background.  Nosocomial infection, globalization, international travel and bacterial resistance are among the factors contributing to heightened awareness of the importance of infection prevention and control in today’s healthcare environment. An online course in infection control was developed to facilitate the delivery of standardized training to large numbers of health providers.

Method.  A quasi-experimental, pre-and post-test study using questionnaires and open-ended questions was conducted in 2006 with a convenience sample of 76 healthcare professionals, the majority of whom were Registered Nurses.

Findings.  Participants made statistically significant increases in their perceptions of competency in infection control following the course. The majority were very satisfied with the course and reported that what they had learned was useful and relevant to their practice. Participants who worked in supportive organizations that were open to change reported a higher incidence of knowledge transfer activities. Two course design features in particular, video and interactive quizzes and games, motivated learners and enhanced the learning experience.

Conclusion.  Online learning can provide ongoing, convenient and effective access to up-to-date information on best practices in infection control and prevention. This standardized delivery approach minimizes demand on limited training resources which are under strain and gives learners the opportunity to refresh ‘rusty’ infection control and prevention skills.