Nurses risk needle pricks in all settings, researchers say

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Registered nurses face the same risk of being stuck by a needle across all settings -- whether that be a nursing home, hospital or other setting, say researchers at Columbia University in New York.

Professor Robyn Gershon of the Mailman School of Public Health has found that almost one out of every one hundred non-hospital based RNs experienced at least one needle-stick in the last year, and that is roughly the same rate as hospital-based RNs.

Factors that can increase the risk of needle-sticks can be found at all types of facilities, not just hospitals, Gershon said. Those risks include long work hours, heavy patient loads, lack of safety devices and inadequate training. Gershon went on to report that around 70% of nurses exposed to needle-sticks were not seen by a doctor to check for infection, and that up to 35% of needle-sticks were not reported to facility administrators.

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