Nurses use microbiology to understand how infection is spread and how bacteria mutates and adapts to its environment. This understanding of microbiology helps nurses not only prevent the spread of disease, but help stop the formation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
In 2004, one in every 10 patients left the hospital with a healthcare-acquired infection (HAI). The spread of infection is preventable. Proper microbiology education gives a nurse basic infection control principles, such as proper disposal of infected material, proper attire and hygiene and how to handle the patient so he does not become infected himself or spread the disease to other patients.
Bacteria replicates quickly and thus mutates rapidly, leading to antibiotic resistance. The CDC reports that as of 2015, over 2 million people become infected every year with antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the United States, and more than 23,000 of those people die because of those infections. Nurses can help stop the formation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria through the proper disposal and eradication of infected materials.
Microbiology is important for understanding proper collection of specimens to avoid contamination or accidentally killing bacteria that needs testing. Microbiology can also teach the symptoms of infection. Nurses generally spend more time with patients than a doctor does and are often the first to notice the signs of infection in a patient.