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IV Catheter Risks to Nurses Frequent, Unreported

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, March 13, 2012

OSHA requires that employers reevaluate the institutional exposure control plan on an annual basis and look at new technology available that may offer superior protection from sharps injuries and blood exposures. Since placement of IV catheters is one of the higher-risk procedures for blood-borne pathogen transmission, nurse leaders should be particularly vigilant about addressing problems in this area as they arise.

They should be sure to seek input from frontline workers when selecting safety IV catheters, and get their feedback in evaluating device performance.

HLM: Are there steps/policies nurse leaders can put into place based in these findings?

Perry: One area the findings point to where better training, and perhaps more explicit policies, are needed is use of eye protection when performing I.V. catheter procedures. Eye and face protection should always be worn—eye glasses are not enough.

In related news, the American Nurses Association and the Healthcare Workers Safety Center at UVA issued "A Consensus Statement and Call to Action," which calls for further progress on the Needlestick Safety and Protection Act (NSPA).  It was endorsed by 19 organizations and calls for:

  • Improving sharps safety in surgical settings
  • Reducing exposure risk in non-hospital healthcare environments
  • Involving healthcare workers in safety device selection
  • Improving the range and design of available safety devices
  • Enhancing worker education and training

Alexandra Wilson Pecci is a managing editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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