Bold Voices - July 2013 - (Page 9)

AT THE BEDSIDE Sharps Injuries Continue to Pose Work Hazard I Ill Healthcare Workers Can Spread Respiratory Virus to Patients It’s common for potentially contagious healthcare workers to work instead of taking sick leave. The transmission of respiratory viruses by ill healthcare workers can threaten the safety of patients, especially those who are vulnerable to infection, finds a study by Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, “Respiratory Virus Shedding in a Cohort of On-Duty Healthcare Workers Undergoing Prospective Surveillance” finds it was common for potentially contagious ill healthcare workers to work rather than take sick leave. Many report- edly did not want to burden co-workers with their absence. Unfortunately, viral shedding was common among those with symptoms, and to a significantly lesser degree, among asymptomatic workers. As a result, the study recommends that hospitals update their institutional illness policy to accommodate sick workers, who should avoid patient-care duties or take leave until they are no longer contagious. The 20-week cohort study was conducted in a tertiary care children’s hospital during the 2009 to 2010 pandemic influenza season in Nashville, Tenn. The study involved a total of 1,404 biweekly nasal swab specimens from 170 participating healthcare workers. If a subject reported respiratory symptoms, additional swabs were collected. 9 AACN BOLD VOICES JULY 2013 njuries from needles and sharp instruments continue to be a serious occupational health hazard among healthcare workers, notes an article in the Surgical Tribune. “Researchers Review Potential Impact of Instrument-caused Injuries” states that nearly 40,000 sharps injuries occur each year in the United States and, despite regulations aimed to prevent these injuries and new reporting strategies, “the rate of sharps injuries in the operating room had actually increased.” While a study in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, “Sharps Injuries: The Risks and Efforts to reduce Relevance to Plastic Surgeons,” focuses on physicians, nurses are at considerable risk for these sharps injuries are injuries as well, particularly in certain scenarios. “Among nurses, shifts greater than 13 hours and those scheduled during weekends or evenings were correlated with a significantly higher not universally risk of sustaining an injury,” the study notes. Efforts to reduce injuries are only partially successful, because these efforts are not being implemented. implemented overall. The study points out that use of a neutral zone to pass instruments rather than hand-to-hand passing is known to reduce the rate of injury by up to 60 percent. “However, these techniques are used by surgeons and operating room nurses only 40 percent of the time.” The costs of sharps injuries are not insignificant. In addition to the financial cost of post-exposure prevention for HIV and hepatitis B, the injuries can have a major psychological impact, particularly during the time to confirm the injured worker is free of infection, which may take several weeks or months.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Bold Voices - July 2013

Front/Digital Edition Viewing Guide
Another Angle
We Welcome New, Thank Off-going National Board Members
Managers Note Less Professionalism Among Nurses
Joint Commission: Alarm Fatigue Can Be Deadly
Many Nurses Subject to Workplace Violence
Sharps Injuries Continue to Pose Work Hazard
Medicare Commission Explores Pay Inequality for APRNs
NTI 2013 in Photos
Can iPads Disrupt Function of Implanted Heart Devices?
Copper Surfaces Can Cut in Half the Risk of HAI
In OurJournals
Boston Eds Ready for Emergencies, Some Airlines Unprepared
AACN Scholarships Support Your Future
Visionary Leaders Recognized at NTI
Step Forward

Bold Voices - July 2013