Resident NSI’s: Getting Out Of The First 6 Months Alive

NSIs Resident Safety

Needlestick injuries (NSIs) are a safety hazard for people who work with hypodermic syringes and other needle equipment. These injuries can occur at any time when people use, disassemble, or dispose of needles. When not disposed of properly, needles can become concealed in linen or garbage and injure other workers who encounter them unexpectedly.

“Sharps” include needles, as well as items such as scalpels, lancets, razor blade, scissors, metal wire, retractors, clamps, pins, staples, cutters, and glass items. Essentially, any object that is able to cut the skin can be considered a “sharp”.

In a study recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers aim to identify those healthcare professionals who sustain the most documented NCIs; residents vs seasoned house staff in healthcare. Though reliant upon self reported data, this study systematically examined whether NSIs sustained at Mercy Health Youngstown varied by postgraduate year (PGY) level and described patterns of NSIs among house staff.

Below are the results:

Of the one hundred twenty nine NSIs reported; 67 occurred during the first year of postgraduate education, 37 during PGY-2, 15 during PGY-3, 7 during PGY-4, and 2 during PGY-5. Of the 67 NSIs that occurred during the first year of training, 42 (62.7%) occurred during the first 6 months.

Virtually all healthcare personnel are at risk of harm from occupational exposures such as needlestick injuries. The CDC notes that while nurses sustain approximately half of all needlestick injuries, physicians housekeeping and maintenance staff, technicians and administrators are also harmed.

Here are the top 4 key U.S. statistics about NCIs that every medical student should know before entering a postgraduate residency.

  1. OSHA estimates 5.6 million workers in the U.S. healthcare industry are at risk of occupational exposure to blood borne pathogens via needlestick injuries and other sharps-related injuries.
  1. Each year 385,000 needlestick injuries and other sharps-related injuries are sustained by hospital-based healthcare personnel. This equates to an average of around 1,000 sharps injuries occur per day in U.S. hospitals.
  1. Including other non-acute healthcare facilities, it is estimated that 600,000 healthcare personnel incur a needlestick injury each year in the U.S.
  1. 40% of injuries occur after use and before disposal of sharp devices, 41% of injuries occur during the use of sharp devices on patients, and 15% of injuries occur during or after disposal (CDC unpublished data)
Joseph Bryant
josephb@medelita.com
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