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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”

 

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HAS THE POINT BEEN MADE?

A NEEDLESTICK INJURY AWARENESS SURVEY

http://www.needlestickforum.net/

Introduction:

There is a growing awareness within the health service of the impact of needlestick injuries and the need to introduce policies and procedures that will reduce their occurrence, in conjunction with the use of anti-needlestick devices. SafeGard Medical is a company that specialises in providing these devices.

Needlestick Injuries: Sharpen Your Awareness (NHS Scotland, 2000) was at the forefront of raising people’s awareness of the anti-needlestick issue. There is now a wealth of information available in the literature and on the Internet. Web sites such as needlestickforum.co.uk aim to continue to raise awareness of the needlestick issue and provide information or solutions to this problem.

Title: Has the point been made?

A Study into the impact of anti-needlestick devices, policies, procedures and literature on the nurses of Scotland.

Background:

Within Needlestick Injuries: Sharpen Your Awareness (NHS Scotland, 2000) it was stated that the implementation of the report’s recommendations was mainly the responsibility of the NHS management and that the staff themselves had a vital role adopting best practice. Has the implementation process begun?

The purpose of this study is:

To ascertain whether the awareness of nurses in Scotland has indeed been sharpened, by the publication of Sharpen Your Awareness, as the title suggests. Has an anti-needlestick philosophy been adopted by the NHS management and staff? Or has the point been missed.

The topic for investigation is therefore:

Has the greater emphasis being placed on anti-needlestick policies, practices and procedures had a noticeable impact on policies, procedures and practices of the nursing staff in Scotland over the last year?

The Sample Group:

71 hospitals from all over Scotland were cold called by telephone and nurses were asked for their views and opinions regarding anti-needlestick issues. The calls were made from the beginning of April until the end of June. Nursing staff, were asked at random if they would like to answer a few questions concerning needlestick injuries. A total of 254 nurses of various grades agreed to take part in this survey anonymously, from all over Scotland. Eight hospitals that were contacted had no respondents. The process by which this survey was carried out was not scientific it is a snapshot of the individual nurse’s views. The data contained within this survey is no less worthy of note because of this lack of scientific rigour.

Results:

A summary of all of the results can be found at the end of the document.

Each of the questions asked will be discussed in turn, with a brief summary of the key points.

Q1.  I am fully aware of current Scottish anti-needlestick literature E.G. Sharpen Your Awareness.

Agree

 

 

 

Disagree

1

2

3

4

5

39%

22%

18%

10%

11%

Over half, 51% of the nurses questioned knew of this document and some had read it. 18% thought they might be aware of the document but had no idea as to its content. 21% did not know of this document and were not aware of any specific literature concerning this issue.

 

Q2. Anti-needlestick literature has had an impact on my practice.

Agree

 

 

 

Disagree

1

2

3

4

5

12%

10%

30%

37%

11%

22% of nurses questioned agreed that anti-needlestick literature had an impact on their practice. Some saw themselves as the driver in implementing a change in their colleagues’ thinking, seeking out anti-needlestick devices to be used in their place of work.  48% believed that literature of this nature had no impact on their practice. 30% were undecided, some feeling powerless to implement change even though they were aware of the literature.

Q3. Anti-needlestick practice is a priority to me in my clinical practice.

Agree

 

 

 

Disagree

1

2

3

4

5

15%

53%

15%

12%

5%

68% were in agreement with this statement. The remaining 32% did not think it was a priority because they were low risk or their own practice would result in them being safe from a needlestick injury. There was a view that it was just part of the job. One respondent was of the opinion that needlestick injuries were an “occupational hazard”

Q4. Anti-needlestick practice is a priority to my employer.

Agree

 

 

 

Disagree

1

2

3

4

5

10%

12%

43%

27%

8%

Only 22% of those nurses questioned believed that anti-needlestick practice was a priority to their employer. Each nurse who expressed an opinion highlighted the prohibitive cost of buying safer devices as the reason for anti-needlestick practice not being a priority to their employer. No nurse questioned considered that possible changes in practice might result in a reduction in needlestick injury.

Q5. I am fully aware of my employer’s anti-needlestick policy.

Agree

 

 

 

Disagree

1

2

3

4

5

2%

8%

36%

48%

6%

25 of the 250 nurses who responded knew that their employer had an anti-needlestick policy.

Q6. Nothing more can be done to make anti-needlestick issues a greater priority.

Agree

 

 

 

Disagree

1

2

3

4

5

4%

10%

22%

36%

28%

Respondents raised three main issues that would, in their opinion, ensure anti-needlestick practice became a greater priority within the health service. These were: legislate for the use of the safer devices, provide more money which is ring fenced to purchase these safer devices and arrange for more awareness-raising sessions locally and nationally for all staff.

 

Q7. I will make anti-needlestick practice a priority

Agree

 

 

 

Disagree

1

2

3

4

5

62%

22%

13%

2%

1%

84% of staff questioned said that they would make anti-needlestick practice a greater priority. Some nurses believed they did not have the time, while others were of the opinion that they were already doing enough to prevent needlestick injury.

Q8. My employer has a procedure for raising health & safety concerns.

Agree

 

 

 

Disagree

1

2

3

4

5

71%

17%

12%

0%

0%

Each member of staff was aware to a greater or lesser degree of their employers’ health and safety reporting procedures.

Q9. I am fully aware of the reporting procedure for sharps injury.

Agree

 

 

 

Disagree

1

2

3

4

5

17%

20%

32%

28%

3%

Most who agreed with this statement would report a sharps incident and knew how to report the incident. However, it became clear that nurses would not always report such incidents. There were a number of reasons for this; including, not viewing needlestick injuries as a serious injury, believing that their boss would view the injury as poor practice, not having enough time for more paper-work and lastly, the view that needlestick injury was an occupational hazard.

Q10. My clinical area is low risk for HIV/HCV infection from sharps.

Agree

 

 

 

Disagree

1

2

3

4

5

10%

52%

23%

9%

6%

62% of those nurses questioned considered themselves to be in a low risk area, a further 23% did not know. Predominantly, only those nurses who took bloods on a regular basis believed they might be at risk.

Conclusion:

The purpose of the survey was to ascertain whether the awareness of nurses in Scotland has indeed been sharpened, and if NHS management and staff have adopted an anti-needlestick philosophy.

 It is encouraging that 51% of the nurses questioned were aware of current literature on this subject, however only 22% stated that this had had an impact on their practice.

68% believe that anti-needlestick practice is a priority for them; only 22% think their employers’ share this view. Both parties should address this disparity.

64% of respondents’ thought that the priority given to needlestick issues could be enhanced further and 84% stated that they would make needlestick issues a personal priority.

Health and Safety reporting procedures are in place, although the reporting of needlestick issues is not given a strong enough emphasis in this process. Worryingly, there is still a non-reporting issue regarding these incidents.

Perhaps of most concern only 15% of respondents feel they are at risk from HIV/HCV infection. While perception of these risk is so low it is unlikely that needlestick issues will be given the pre-eminence that they deserve.

Alan Connington

Clinical Support Manager

SafeGard Medical

e-mail: aconnington@safegardmedical.com

Information Evaluation Form

Needlestick Issues

Date ___________             Department ____________________________

Grade ____________________________

Please circle the most appropriate answer for each question.                                         

 

 

Agree ------ Disagree

 

1.

I am fully aware of current Scottish anti-needlestick literatureE.G. Sharpen Your Awareness

39%

22%

18%

10%

11%

2.

Anti-needlestick literature has had an impact on my practice

12%

10%

30%

37%

11%

3.

Anti-needlestick practice is a priority to me in my clinical practice

15%

53%

15%

12%

5%

4.

Anti-needlestick practice is a priority to my employer

10%

12%

43%

27%

8%

5.

I am fully aware of my employer’s anti-needlestick policy

2%

8%

36%

48%

6%

6.

Nothing more can be done to make anti-needlestick issues a greater priority.

4%

10%

22%

36%

28%

7.

I will make anti-needlestick practice a priority

62%

22%

13%

2%

1%

8.

My employer has a procedure for raising health & safety concerns.

71%

17%

12%

0

0

9.

I am fully aware of the reporting procedure for sharps injury.

17%

20%

32%

28%

3%

10.

My clinical area is low risk for HIV/HCV infection from sharps.

10%

52%

23%

9%

6%