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Clostridium Difficile infection: Essential knowledge for nurses and midwives

CPD Hours



All Modules
Infectious diseases
Infection control and workplace health and safety


Clostridium difficile infection is a severe gastrointestinal infection caused by toxins released from the spore-forming bacteria Clostridium difficile (C. difficile).

Although commonly thought of as a hospital-acquired infection, community-associated cases are becoming more prevalent in Australia and around the world. People exposed to hospital environments and residential aged care settings are particularly at risk.

Strict adherence to infection prevention and control measures are essential to prevent transmission of C. difficile in both hospital and community settings.

Learning Objective

At the end of this module participants will be able to:

  • Understand the basic features of Clostridium difficile, the bacterium responsible for Clostridium difficile infection.
  • Describe how Clostridium difficile is transmitted.
  • Determine what happens after Clostridium difficile spores are ingested.
  • Define Clostridium difficile infection and outline symptoms of infection.
  • Understand how infection is diagnosed, and the requirement for laboratory diagnosis to confirm all cases.
  • Identify risk factors for hospital-acquired and community-associated infection.
  • Outline key infection prevention and control measures necessary to prevent the spread of infection.
  • Describe treatment options for mild, moderate, severe, and recurrent Clostridium difficile infection including therapies and nursing interventions.
  • Highlight emerging therapies.
  • Understand the future directions for the prevention and management of Clostridium difficile.

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