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Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit

The Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit conducts surveillance for infectious diseases and investigates clusters and outbreaks.

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Infection Prevention Orientation Manual

Section 1: Introduction

Download a printable PDF Version of this section.

Introduction and Purpose

Frequently, clinical and other staff members are tapped to fill roles with new responsibilities. For example, a nurse or clinical person with a strong laboratory or science background is asked to become the infection prevention and control professional (a.k.a. infection preventionist [IP]). A role change or addition of this nature requires a person to identify a starting point to learn new perspectives, practices, and where to locate the body of knowledge for the new discipline. The Wyoming Infection Prevention Orientation Manual (WYIPOM) was developed for the person asked to fill the infection prevention and control role for his/her facility. It is also for the IP who may be new to the state of Wyoming and is in need of some direction and local resources.

The intent of the manual is simply to identify knowledge needed to answer the questions, “Where do I start?” and “What are additional resources once I’m comfortable with the basics?” This manual answers the question of where to start with key definitions, concepts and initial actions to take. The general purpose of the manual is to provide tools to broaden an IP’s knowledge as well as direct her/him to resources relating to infection prevention in the various sub-topic areas. Additionally, the WYIPOM was developed as a guide to describe the scope of the infection preventionist position, one that often gets tailored to the specific facility. The WYIPOM and discussions with a supervisor can be utilized to develop the priorities of an IP position that are most beneficial to the individual institution. A healthcare facility might not have all the elements, points, or tasks outlined. However, the manual can be used to help an IP either trim the tasks to fit the individual facility’s needs, or expand them to fit a larger medical facility.

The WYIPOM can be used in its entirety or as individual self-studies of each section topic. For a new IP, it’s recommended that each section is completed in sequential order. Each section contains roughly the same subsections such as: a list of objectives, number of hours to complete the section, any required readings, an overview, key concepts, methods, documentation and reporting, helpful resources, and appendices. The number of hours listed in each section is the approximate amount of time the author(s) felt it would take to read the material, participate in any suggested tours or personnel interviews, track down information, and perform the exercises. Individuals with some IP experience, or who are working with a mentor might take less time. Of particular note, each section contains various exercises for the reader to perform to assist in the learning process. Additionally, at the end of each section is a list of Helpful Contacts in WY or the U.S. This list includes specific people an IP may contact for further questions or help completing an exercise. It is the intent of the authors to be a person the IP may contact regarding the subject at any time.

Authors and Reviewers

The need for this project was based on surveys of IPs across Wyoming and members of the Wyoming Infection Prevention Advisory Group (WIPAG). Members of the WIPAG identified and sought expertise both locally and nationally in the subject areas included in this manual. Section authors and manual reviewers included:

  • Christina Baugh, RN, Infection Preventionist, Memorial Hospital of Carbon County, Rawlins, Wyoming
  • Katie Bryan, BS, Infectious Disease Epidemiologist, Wyoming Department of Health, Cheyenne, Wyoming
  • Karen Burk, RPh, Clinical Pharmacy Coordinator for Powell Valley Healthcare, Powell, Wyoming
  • Fran Cadez, JD, MBA, Chief Legal Officer, Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, Cheyenne, Wyoming
  • Alicia Cole, BA, Founder Alliance for Safety Awareness for Patients, Sherman Oaks, California
  • Cynthia Elwood, PhD, CIH, Associates in Occupational & Environmental Health, LLC, Denver, Colorado
  • Claudia Edinger, RN, MSN, Infection Preventionist, Teton County, Jackson, Wyoming
  • Luke Forney, Freelance writer and editor, Norman, Oklahoma
  • Russ Forney, PhD, MT (ASCP), HAI Aim Lead, Mountain-Pacific Quality Health – Wyoming, Casper, Wyoming
  • Pat Fritz, RN, BC, WCC, NHA, Nursing Home Quality Initiative, Mountain-Pacific Quality Health – Wyoming, Basin, Wyoming
  • Renee Jensen, RN, Infection Preventionist, North Big Horn Hospital District, Lovell, Wyoming
  • Dr. Dianna Knox, Assistant Professor of Counseling, Northern State University, Aberdeen, South Dakota
  • Ann Lovejoy, MBA, M.Ed., Mountain-Pacific Quality Health – Wyoming, Casper, Wyoming
  • Tiffany Lupcho, MPH, Infectious Disease Surveillance Epidemiologist, Wyoming Department of Health, Cheyenne, Wyoming
  • Sheila Lutz, BSN, RN, Infection Preventionist, Hot Springs County Memorial Hospital, Thermopolis, Wyoming
  • Kelli Martin, RN-BC, Staff Development Coordinator, West Park Long Term Care, Cody, Wyoming
  • Baerbel Merrill, MS, BSN, RN.C, CIC, Infection Preventionist, Gillette, Wyoming
  • Holly Montgomery, RN, WCC, Assistant Director of Nursing, Platte County Memorial Nursing Home, Wheatland, Wyoming
  • Tracy Murphy, MD, State Epidemiologist, Wyoming Department of Health, Cheyenne, Wyoming
  • Linda Pleiman, BSN, RN, Quality Improvement Coordinator, ESRD Network #15, Lakewood, Colorado
  • Darlene Rodgers, BSN, RN, CNN, CPHQ, Executive Director, ESRD Networks #15 and #17, Lakewood, Colorado
  • Karen Strott, BSN, RN, Director of Quality Improvement, ESRD Network #15, Lakewood, Colorado
  • Leslie Teachout, RN, CIC, Infection Preventionist, SageWest Healthcare, Fremont County, Wyoming
  • Emily Thorp, MS, Infectious Disease Surveillance Epidemiologist and Healthcare-Associated Infection (HAI) Prevention Coordinator, Wyoming Department of Health, Cheyenne, Wyoming
  • Clay Van Houten, MS, Infectious Disease Epidemiology Section Chief, Wyoming Department of Health, Cheyenne, Wyoming
  • Brittany Wardle, BS, Hospital Emergency Preparedness Program Manager, Wyoming Department of Health, Cheyenne, Wyoming
  • Ellen Williams, RN, BA, Reducing Healthcare-Associated Infection (HAI) Aim Lead, MountainPacific Quality Health – Wyoming, Casper, Wyoming
  • Deborah F. Wilson, MS, RN, CIC, Infection Preventionist / MDRO Prevention Coordinator, Cheyenne VA Medical Center, Cheyenne, Wyoming
  • David Woodard, CLS, MSc, CIC, CPHQ, Infection Prevention Consultant, Steven Hirsch & Associates, Fountain Valley, California

Special Acknowledgement

The WY IPOM would not have been possible without the generosity of the Provincial Infection Control Network of British Columbia (PICNet). The contents and structure of the PICNet ICP Orientation Manual ( were used and modified with permission from PICNet in order to develop the WY IPOM. The authors and reviewers would like to extend our sincere gratitude to PICNet for the use of their manual.


The authors, reviewers and associated organizations/agencies are not responsible for errors or omissions or for any consequences from application of the information in this manual and make no warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to utilizing the most current information, completeness, or accuracy of the contents of the publication. The material contained in this manual is based information available at the time of publication. Application of this information in a particular situation remains the professional responsibility of the practitioner. The authors, reviewers, and sponsoring or supporting organizations are not under any obligation to update information contained herein. Future medical advances, product information, or revisions to legislative, administrative, or legal proceedings may affect or change the information provided in this manual. The readers and medical professionals are responsible for monitoring ongoing medical advances relating to infection prevention and control. The manual is provided with the understanding that neither it nor its authors are engaged in rendering medical or other professional advice. If medical advice or other expert assistance is required, the reader should seek the advice of a subject matter expert.

Financial Support

Support for the development of the Wyoming Infection Prevention Orientation Manual was provided by:

  • Wyoming Department of Health, Cheyenne, Wyoming
  • Mountain-Pacific Quality Health – Wyoming, Casper, Wyoming
  • ESRD Network #15, Denver, Colorado

The material for this section and the Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement section of the WY IPOM were prepared by Mountain-Pacific Quality Health, the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization for WY, MT, HI and AK, under contract with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Contents presented do not necessarily reflect CMS policy.  10SOW-MPQHF-WY-IPC-14-30.

The material for this section and the Current Issues in Infection Prevention in Dialysis section of the WY IPOM were prepared by Intermountain ESRD Network, Inc. under contract with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Contents presented do not necessarily reflect CMS policy.  HHSM-500-2013-NW015C


WIPAG welcomes your comments and feedback on these sections.
For comments or inquiries, please contact:

Cody Loveland, MPH, Healthcare-Associated Infection (HAI) Prevention Coordinator
Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit,
Public Health Sciences Section, Public Health Division
Wyoming Department of Health
6101 Yellowstone Road, Suite #510
Cheyenne, WY  82002
Tel: 307-777-8634    Fax: 307-777-5573