Half of nurses injured by used needles

Almost half of nurses (48%) have been accidentally stabbed by a needle that had previously been used on a patient, according to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

Credit: iStockphoto/Larry Cole
Credit: iStockphoto/Larry Cole

Its report ‘Needlestick Injury in 2008’ found that 34% feel at risk of contracting diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C following such injuries.

90% of nurses said their last needlestick injury drew blood. After telling their employer, the findings show that more than 1 in 4 nurses (28%) did not receive any employer advice about the risk of blood-borne diseases following the incident.

The majority of employers (94%) have a ‘sharps’ policy that covers prevention and reporting, yet just half of nurses (55%) have received any form of training from their employer on safer needle use.

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said: ‘It is clear that needle injuries are an everyday threat for nurses up and down the country. With potentially lethal consequences, being stuck by a needle can be a very traumatic experience, yet too many employers in the NHS fail to provide the necessary support to nurses.’

A total of 4,727 nurses took part in the survey.


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