Infection control is everyone's business and it is important that all members of staff observe good infection control practice. An effective infection control link nurse system has been shown to support and develop this approach. The strength of ward-based infection control link nurses depends upon their effectiveness as role models and their ability to influence practice on their wards and beyond. In addition, the degree of respect they command from their peers and colleagues and the amount and quality of knowledge they possess is crucial. This paper describes an innovative approach taken in Mid-Essex, which allowed infection control link nurses to assess their capabilities and limitations in communicating with and influencing colleagues. In addition, we show how quantitative measures may be made available by this approach. Such measures may be used to explain to management how particular areas of infection control practice (e.g. the need for infection control link nurses to have more authority and more 'muscle') may be important.
Copyright 2001 The Hospital Infection Society.