Everyday nurses are exposed to many different types of harm in their healthcare setting. Nurses constantly deal with possible injury from lifting a patient, exposure to blood borne pathogens, and experiencing fatigue, along with emotional stress. One type of hazard that has been an issue in the healthcare setting involving nurses is the exposure of needles causing needle stick injuries. Needle stick injuries can be defined as an incident involving used or non-used needles that penetrate the skin.
These types of injuries usually cause harm with the exposure to lood and other body fluids. There is a possibility that these body fluids can contain dangerous blood borne pathogens, such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV/AIDS), Hepatitis B (HBV), or Hepatitis C (HCV). Reports from the American Nurses Association (ANA) state that amongst high-risk occupations nurses rank fifth due to injuries and illnesses. Without a doubt, there can be many different ways that nurses can help reduce the risk of needle stick injuries among themselves and others in the healthcare setting.
Certainly, nurses get tired easily from their long shifts and this an affect the way they function during a day’s work. When nurses are experiencing extreme fatigue during their shift, they must consider the precautions when it comes to dealing with sharps. Needle stick injuries can be termed as a serious safety threat to nurses and anyone involved in their presence throughout their day in the healthcare setting. Considering that needle stick injuries are a serious health threat, nurses need to highly take care of themselves to reduce the chances of harming another.
Ferris (2015) reports that extended work hours can be associated with nursing fatigue and errors. From a conducted study associated with nursing fatigue and needle stick injuries, researchers found that 80% of nurses in their professional life had previously experienced at least one needle stick injury, and 68% of nurses experienced at least one needle stick injury in the past year (Ferris, 2015). This study helps to determine that long working hours associated with nursing fatigue happens to play a role in needle stick injuries.
Without a doubt, additional reasons associated with fatigue and long hours for some nurses are the result from working the night shifts. Pashley (2012) indicates hat the concern of chronic nursing shortages often leads to problems with fatigue and burnout. Burnouts from work result in stress and work-overload in the healthcare setting for a nurse. With chronic nursing shortages in certain healthcare facilities, this indicates that there are many nurses who are over-doing their job. This will eventually result in the increase of needle stick injuries due to nurses who are working extended hours and shifts.
If nurses are experiencing work-overload, it is part of their job to speak up not only for themselves, but for the safety of their patients as well. Working overtime and night shifts increases the chances of self-exposure or exposure to patients with needle stick injuries significantly (Ferris, 2015). On the other hand, education about needle stick injuries can help and protect both nurses and their patients. Needle stick injuries have become a growing issue among nurses as a result of a lack of education, lack of reporting, and outdated safety protocols for new procedures (Foley, 2014).
With proper education among nurses about needle stick injuries, there is less of a possibility of the exposure of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV/AIDS), Hepatitis B (HBV), or Hepatitis C (HCV). Hutley (2014) expresses that a nurse needs to be educated on their healthcare facility’s use of appropriate work processes and safety systems. Before administering anything that can involve a sharps injury, nurses need to have the knowledge for assessing the risk and controlling the risk.
The assessment in preventing a needle stick injury will help identify the hazards, evaluate the risks, and implement control measures on how to reduce the risks (Hutley, 2014). When a nurse is controlling the risk of a needle stick injury, he or she needs to be educated on the mportance of never recapping a needle, engaging the safety after administration, and disposing the needle into the sharps container immediately afterwards. Foley (2014) indicates that the increased knowledge of the risks will go a long way to protect nurses in their healthcare facility.
With proper education about the prevention of needle stick injuries, nurses will be able to attend work with a lessened risk of needle stick and sharp injuries, and be able to educate their coworkers on how to make these types of accidental injuries a never event in their healthcare setting (Foley, 2014). In addition to proper education of preventing needle stick injuries, proper training needs to be highly encouraged in any healthcare facility. A common program of proper training for nurses before entering a healthcare facility should be highly recommended.
Blenkharn (2014) implements that mandatory training and robust protocols for sharps use and injury prevention have reduced the risks of injury. Without proper training amongst nurses, needle stick injuries puts 5. 6 million healthcare personnel at risk to the exposure of life-threatening blood borne pathogens (Foley, 2014). Statistics indicate that by the time health care workers complete their training, 99% of them have already been stuck with needles at least once, and 53% of these harmful injuries came from high-risk patients, such as those with HIV/AIDS (Foley, 2014).
This study clearly identifies that high-quality training should be incorporated amongst healthcare facilities for the improvement of safety towards nurses and their peers. With the demanding use of mandatory sharps safety devices, nurses need to be trained on how to use them correctly to prevent penetrating their own skin with a ontaminated needle. Sharps safety devices have delivered a high reduction in needle stick injuries to healthcare professionals (Blenkharn, 2014).
When it comes to blood borne pathogens, the risk of infection after the needle stick injury is estimated 1 in 3 for HBV, 1 in 30 for HCV, and 1 in 300 for HIV (Blenkharn, 2014). Any of these types of injuries can occur while preparing the sharps, during administration of disposal, or after disposal. Occasionally, sharps containers are not always in reach after administration. It is highly important that the nurse should e trained to engage the safety immediately and walk the contaminated sharps to the nearest container. The nurse should never place the sharps down near them and continue finishing their care.
To prevent injury, the nurse needs to dispose the sharps because it is unknown if there is a fault in the sharps safety device. Needle stick injuries need to be prevented by proper training because the risks are real. Studies have proven that there is still a significant amount of nurses who encounter needle stick injuries throughout their career. Blenkharn (2014) helped recognize that the easurement of needle stick injuries rate against employment statistics reveals an overall injury rate for support staff that is ten-times greater than for nurses.
Sharps need to be disposed with sufficient care. Without that care, it is highly likely that the disposal will result in a needle stick injury, unknowingly what it was contaminated with. I agree that needle stick injuries result from nursing fatigue, the lack of education, and the lack of proper training. Nurses need to consider when their body needs a break from night shifts and overtime so they can decrease the isk of injury towards themselves or someone else.
When entering a healthcare facility as a new or continuing nurse, education and proper training should be performed frequently for the benefit of the nurse and their clients. Protective barriers such as sharps safety devices should always be available in the healthcare facility to ensure proper safety. Nurses should be skillful, knowledgeable, and well rested when dealing with the use of sharps. It is important for all healthcare providers to take these factors into consideration when preventing injury and handling care.