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The peril of needle exposure for nurses

On Behalf of | Jan 8, 2024 | Workplace Safety

Nurses are the backbone of the health care industry. Their invaluable efforts help patients recover from sicknesses and medical procedures every day.

Throughout their time on the job, nurses must deal with many hazards, including the risk of needle exposure. The results of an accidental stick can be devastating.

A constant threat that nurses face

Nurses handle needles each time they draw blood or perform other medical routines. For approximately 5.6 million health care workers, these activities place them at a higher risk of needle sticks.

The health dangers of needlestick injuries

The dangers associated with needlestick injuries are significant. Beyond the immediate pain and inconvenience, they can lead to the transmission of bloodborne pathogens such as HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. An infection like this often has lifelong consequences.

Factors contributing to needlestick accidents

Several variables increase the hazard of needlestick injuries among nurses. Long hours, high pressure and constant distractions can affect a health care worker’s focus, thus heightening the likelihood of unintentional sticks. Additionally, inadequate training on proper sharps-handling techniques and the absence of basic protocols can elevate the chances of accidents.

Mitigating the risks in health care fields

Lowering the danger of needle exposure requires a multi-faceted approach. Training programs must emphasize the proper way to work with needles and the importance of remaining vigilant. Furthermore, access to personal protective equipment, such as medical gloves, is pivotal in safeguarding medical staff.

Needle exposure poses a significant threat to nurses. Enforcing protocols and prioritizing safety should reduce needlestick injuries and create a healthier work environment for these healing professionals.