Sharps Safety Begins with You
Prevention of sharps injuries is paramount in the healthcare setting. Despite the addition of engineered sharps safety devices over the past decade, sharps related injuries (SRIs) still occur. In fact, the CDC estimates that about 385,000 sharps-related injuries occur annually among healthcare workers in hospitals. Many of these injuries are preventable.
Sharps safety starts with the individual — each and every person must be committed to reducing the risk of a SRI to themselves and their coworkers. In this regard, nurses can drive change to improve healthcare worker safety. Nurses empower themselves and others to promote a culture of safety on their unit by educating staff in proper use of and disposal of sharps, identifying high risk procedures, and engaging staff to discuss ways to improve safety.
Nurses can especially reduce SRI risk during injection and venipuncture practices. Many SRIs that occur during these procedures can be caused by patient movement. It is very important to prepare the environment and the patient for the injection procedure. If you think the patient has a high risk of movement, please enlist assistance for the injection/venipuncture procedure. Another avoidable injury is from recapping needles/syringes. Recapping should be avoided at all costs. If it is absolutely necessary to recap a needle, the “one handed scoop” method should be used. Lastly, always engage device safety mechanisms immediately after use and dispose of all sharps safely.
AAMC nurses strive to improve quality and safety every day. Remember, sharps safety is everyone’s responsibility.
-Clint Welch, Sharps Safety