Safe in Common is a movement of healthcare personnel committed to making their working environment safe from the risk of needlestick injury. With the safest equipment, the best practices and the right culture, we believe all needlestick injuries can be prevented. Read more
Welcome to the June 2012 edition of SAFETYscribe, an update on Safe in Common's work to eliminate needlestick and sharps-related injuries. Inside you will find news about the movement of healthcare personnel who are committed to avoiding needlestick injuries and interested in learning about the safest equipment, along with your own stories about best practices and creating the right safety culture.
A nurse signs the Needlestick Safety Pledge during the National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition-– conference in Orlando, May 2012
A nurse signs the Needlestick Safety Pledge during the National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition conference in Orlando, May 2012
A few of the hundreds of healthcare personnel who took the Needlestick Safety Pledge during National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition in Orlando, May 2012
Take the Needlestick Safety Pledge and you will be automatically entered to win an iPad as part of the campaign's sweepstakes! Share the Pledge to earn more entries for our next giveaway (first Tuesday of every month!).
Recent winners include:
Congratulations Nicole Steenrod, Critical Care Clinical Nurse Scholar at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, Illinois on taking the pledge and winning an iPad. Nicole took the pledge because she was a victim of a needlestick injury. "I was lucky my needlestick injury did not lead to further intervention, but not everyone is that lucky. Since that day I have been an advocate for needlestick safety in not only my organization but for all nurses. This pledge is much more than a signature, it's a promise to be an advocate for needlestick safety."
Every month Safe in Common has a new iPad giveaway as a thank you for taking and sharing the Needlestick Safety Pledge. Share the pledge now with colleagues and earn more entries.
You could win a free iPad just for supporting safety.
Social Media Mentions
Boston Public Library (@BPLBoston) June 22: @safeincommon Thanks for the link. Our summer reading program starts in July bpl.org/summer We're looking forward to it.
DC Public Library (@dcpl) June 22: @safeincommon That is adorable!
Tina_Shares June 20: @safeincommon Great advocacy. Every nurse/health care professional should join the movement!
Safe Kids USA (@safekidsUSA) June 19: Cute video thanks for sharing! RT @safeincommon: @safekidsusa: A 2nd grade class made this video to thank you! bit.ly/sickpoem
@KatQ25 June 11: @safeincommon I'm a nurse because of my parents and the passion they instilled in me! I want to make a difference! <3 pic.twitter.com/JzW9dmUi
Safe in Common Endorses Call to Action to Protect Healthcare Personnel from Exposure to Bloodborne Diseases
In May, Safe in Common announced its support and endorsement of the Consensus Statement and Call to Action to reduce the risk of healthcare personnel exposure to bloodborne diseases via needlestick injuries and other potential transmission modes.
Safe in Common joined the International Healthcare Worker Safety Center at the University of Virginia (UVa), the American Nursing Association (ANA) along with 18 other healthcare and industry groups that have signed the Call to Action, which recommends a number of priorities to further reduce the risk of needlestick injuries to U.S. healthcare personnel, including:
Improving sharps safety in surgical settings;
Understanding and reducing exposure risks in non-hospital settings (which include physicians' offices, clinics, home healthcare, and an array of other settings);
Involving frontline personnel in the selection of safety devices;
Addressing gaps in available safety devices, and encouraging innovative designs and technology; and
Enhancing personnel education and training.
Safe in Common Chairperson Dr. Mary Foley, MS, RN, signed the Call to Action on behalf of thousands of U.S. healthcare personnel who have taken the Safe in Common Needlestick Safety Pledge since the launch of a national campaign last month.
By endorsing the Consensus and Call to Action, Safe in Common sent a strong, unified message from its ranks of healthcare personnel that decision makers need to make needlestick safety a priority and further provide assurance that personnel have the access to appropriate devices, educational and training materials and a supportive safety climate.
Safe in Common Labels Federal Recommendation for Needlestick Prevention in the OR a Positive First Step but Calls for Stronger Compliance Measures and Awareness of Safer Devices to Deliver Optimal Protection
SIC welcomed the early June release of a joint recommendation by Federal government agencies for the increased use of needlestick prevention devices within the operating rooms of U.S. healthcare facilities, but said it did not go far enough in delivering optimal protection to all healthcare personnel at risk of harm.
On May 30, 2012, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a statement recommending that healthcare professionals in surgical settings use blunt-tip needles when clinically appropriate to suture muscle and fibrous tissue to help prevent needlestick injuries.
Safe in Common supported the move by the FDA, NIOSH and OSHA to improve protection of healthcare workers within the operating room environment, a high pressure environment with unique needlestick prevention needs. OSHA began to enforce legislation in 2002 mandating the use of safety engineered medical devices within U.S. healthcare facilities. However, the number of reported needlestick injuries caused by suture needles in the OR has remained largely stable during the last decade - they have not been reduced.
"It is clear that the use of blunt tip suture needles can dramatically reduce the risk of needlestick injury when suturing fascia and muscle in the OR," said Dr. Mary Foley, PhD, RN and Chairperson of Safe in Common. "Such safety devices should be utilized wherever possible, regardless of the upfront costs."
Foley believes that the recommendation is a positive first step and a timely reminder to U.S. healthcare facilities. However, it will fail to deliver true protection to healthcare workers at risk of harm without strengthened enforcement by OSHA. We also need improved opportunities for device manufacturers to promote awareness of the safest, simplest device technologies.
Notes from the Nation
Dr. Mary Foley, PhD, RN, Chairperson of Safe in Common
Safe in Common is meeting thousands of healthcare personnel as the Needlestick Safety Advocacy Tour attends conferences around the nation. While each person is unique, their stories and concerns sound awfully familiar. With each stop we make, our work to eradicate the threat of needlestick injuries and strengthen the laws protecting us is welcomed with open arms. It seems as if everyone has been a victim of a needlestick, knows someone who has or wants more done to protect their loved ones who work in harm's way.
That held true at the APIC Annual Educational Conference, where Safe in Common received a groundswell of support from an audience of infection prevention personnel who were in San Antonio for the June 4 event. Safe in Common met one-on-one with many of the thousands of healthcare personnel who are on the frontline of preventing infection. Events and encouragement we receive from events like these, where the healthcare professionals attending truly understand how terrifying a needlestick or sharps injury can be, regardless of whether a bloodborne disease such as HIV or hepatitis C is ultimately contracted, inspire us to do more. As we talk to more people across the country, we get a more personalized understanding of how pervasive needlestick and sharps injuries still are. But they don't have to be. At APIC, we again felt a part of a large community of peers who share these concerns and want to join in a common voice for change.
We also travelled a little farther West last month for the Infusion Nurses Society (INS) Annual Convention & Industrial Exhibition, in Las Vegas, Nevada where it seems we met with almost all of the approximately 1,500 infusion nurses from 30 countries. Each nurse we spoke to welcomed SIC to participate as an integral part of their six days of educational sessions and meetings. We were pleased to see that many of their discussions surrounded needlestick safety technology.
We hope what happened in Vegas DOESN'T stay in Vegas! The INS attendees were eager to spread the importance of needlestick safety and to share our Needlestick Safety Pledge with their friends and colleagues back home! www.safeincommon.org/pledge
We then took the tour to Phoenix, Arizona where we attended the Visiting Nurses Association of America's 30th Annual Meeting at the lovely Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort. As community immunizers, visiting nurses provide a key public health service via a wide range of activities, such as administering flu and travel health clinics, serving as front line responders to pandemic outbreaks and providing public education and wellness clinics about the safety and efficacy of vaccinations.
We enjoyed Orlando so much that we headed back for The National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition (NTI) - the world's largest specialty educational conference for high acuity and critical care nurses at the end of May. We watched from the Safe in Common RV as thousands of critical care nurses from around the globe waited to enter the exposition to see, test and learn about the latest high tech equipment.
I was excited to meet Teddie Tanguay, President of the Canadian Association of Critical Care Nurses. Ms. Tanguay was thrilled to learn about Safe in Common's mission and wanted to help us spread the word about Needlestick Safety Advocacy in Canada! This truly is a cause that resonates with healthcare personnel worldwide.
We also met several state members of National Nurses United, a nursing union that is currently lobbying for the National Nursing Shortage Reform and Patient Advocacy Act. The NNU and SIC share similar goals of advocating for healthcare personnel and patient safety. We look forward to having discussions with their organization in the near future.
It's been a very busy month, but we're looking forward to visiting more conferences, meeting more interested healthcare personnel and continuing to spread the word about this very important issue!
A Safe in Common Poem Project
Safe in Common teamed up with a second grade class to thank nurses and encourage all healthcare personnel to sign the Needlestick Safety Pledge. We’re proud to present the result of the video shoot – an adorable video rendition of the poem "Sick" by Shel Silverstein! Check it out:
We'd like to send a special thank you to Mrs. Fraser’s class for sharing Shel Silverstein’s poetry with all of us and helping raise awareness about the importance of needlestick prevention for healthcare personnel.
Safe in Common takes a signature on the Needlestick Safety Pledge
As the Needlestick Safety Advocacy Tour crosses the nation, healthcare professionals are sharing their stories of living with and preventing the dangers of needlesticks. Meet some of the healthcare personnel we have encountered throughout our journey:
Nurse Nacole: Nurse Nacole is a Florida-based RN who blogs about her experiences as she goes through nursing school (BSN). Nacole posts daily updates on nursing tips and nursing life - and she has shared many messages about Safe in Common on her blog (http://www.nursenacole.com/.) "Yearly there are 365,000 needlestick injuries. That number sounds astonishing, but I can totally relate to that – In my personal circle, I know of three nurses who have had needlestick injuries. Needlestick injuries happen in every environment."
Marianne DiNapoli: Marianne DiNapoli, a New York-based, fourth-year medical student, shared with Safe in Common what she called "the most terrifying day of med school (and maybe of my life)."
"During my Emergency Medicine rotation, I drew blood from little old ladies with tiny veins, patients with very low pain tolerance, and even people with a lot of adipose tissue, people whose veins were not visible. I have become a rockstar phlebotomist. Or so I thought. I was drawing up some labs from one of my patients I had just interviewed in the ER, as a routine part of the patient’s workup. I finished drawing her blood and assumed the needle I’d used had snapped back into the plastic needle protector, as it always does. When I was cleaning up after myself, I felt a prick in my thumb. I looked down, and I saw my own blood underneath my glove. As I’d been trained to do, I went over to the sink and squeezed the area, washing it vigorously with soap and water for a few minutes. Before I could process what had just happened, a resident immediately pulled me into a room to help him with a patient.
Even once I had a moment to think, I didn’t know what to do. Of course, the right thing would be to report the needlestick to my superiors, and go through the whole process of having the patient and I screened for HIV, possibly taking anti-HIV medications, and who knows what else. I knew the patient who I drew blood from had a very low risk of having HIV, and even if she did, there is only a 0.3% chance of transmission from a needlestick. Plus, I didn’t want to be known as that idiot med student that stuck herself with a needle. If I didn’t tell anyone now, no one would ever have to find out.
Ultimately, I didn’t think I could live with the uncertainty of not knowing if I was exposed to HIV. I informed my attending of what had happened, and she directed me to triage. That’s right, I had to be seen in the very ER I was working in. I walked over to the triage nurse, and was rapidly transformed from student doctor to patient. She took my vitals (my pulse and blood pressure were through the roof due to my anxiety), slapped on a hospital bracelet, and directed me to a bed in the ER.
I had people stopping by telling me their own needlestick horror stories. "It was 1988, and my patient was dying of AIDS, and I got stuck by a 14-gauge IV!" and the like. As it turns out, my attending informed me nearly 100% of the ER staff has had a needlestick at some point. Though I was shaking and crying out of pure fear that I now had HIV and was going to die a tragic death before I ever became a doctor, this did comfort me.
The patient and I were both tested for HIV, and I thanked my lucky stars when both came back negative. I had the option of taking anti-HIV drugs, on the chance that the patient had acquired HIV in the past few weeks and her test had not turned positive yet. Weighing the side effects of the medications against the patient’s low risk, I opted not to.
I checked out with the nurse, who cut off my hospital bracelet, and just like that, I morphed back into doctor mode. Though shaken up, and cringing at the fact that my name was projected on the computerized patient list for all my colleagues to see, I finished my shift strong. This was the best possible needlestick injury that could have happened - a low risk patient and the smallest size needle. If everyone in health care gets one needlestick in their career, I'm glad this was mine."
Gina Mongiello: "I have been a Registered Nurse since 2002, Magna Cum Laude Graduate from FIU, N. Miami Beach. I started my career in Emergency Medicine and specialized in Open Heart Recovery. A year ago, our hospital supply chain scooped me up. I must admit, at first I didn't know how important to nursing a position like this could be. Products must be considered for both their clinical value as well as financial value. It is no longer about adding a simple safety device."
The Needlestick Safety Advocacy Tour will be at the following upcoming conferences. Remember to stop by for news and information on the tour and encourage colleagues to come take the Needlestick Safety Pledge!