Miscellaneous Articles

Injection Practices Among Clinicians in US

Many blood borne pathogens, including the hepatitis B and C viruses, have been transmitted between patients through the improper use of syringes, needles, and medication vials. Research shows that unsafe injection practices continue to threaten patient safety, but boosting safe injection practices in healthcare settings requires an approach that includes surveillance, oversight, enforcement, and continuing education among healthcare workers.

Investigators conducted an online survey in May and June 2010 of U.S. clinicians in healthcare settings that prepare and/or administer parenteral medications. Among the 5,446 respondents, most reported injection practices that met current recommendations. However, 6.0 percent said they "sometimes or always" use single-dose/single-use vials for more than one patient and 0.9 percent "sometimes or always" reuse a syringe but change the needle for use on a second patient. About 15 percent reported reusing a syringe to enter a multidose vial and 6.5 percent save that vial for use on another patient (1.1 percent overall). Only about 29.0 percent of respondents said that they "sometimes or always" administered medications that someone else had prepared.

The study authors note, "Anything less than 100 percent compliance with infection control guidelines and aseptic technique contributes to risk of transmission of blood borne viruses resulting in infections; both individual cases and outbreaks may go undetected for some time." The researchers also point out that unsafe injection practices not only increase the risk of patient infection but increase providers' risks of needle stick injuries and potential infections as well as licensing board actions and malpractice suits.

Copied from AANA Essentials 1/14/2010

From "Injection Practices Among Clinicians in United States Health Care Settings"
American Journal of Infection Control (12/01/2010) Vol. 38, No. 10, P. 789 Pugliese, Gina; Gosnell, Cathie; Bartley, Judene M.; et al.