Quote from naijanurse
Last night while taking care of a patient, I was exposed to their bodily fluid. (I won't go into details, because it was kinda gross). I felt it hit my face, on my right cheek. I wasn't sure if it hit my eye or not, but immediately took my contacts off, and irrigated my eyes with water. This patient has known communicable diseases, so I was really freaked out. I told my charge, who said since I wasn't 100% sure it hit my eye, that rinsing it alone should be ok. I didn't feel comfortable with that, and ended up going to the ER for more aggressive irrigation. They also tested me for diseases. I was down there for longer than I thought I was going to be, and ended up giving report to the next oncoming nurse over the phone. I felt kinda bad leaving the floor short while I was in the ER, but my health comes first. What would you guys have done?
Hmmm, well I guess I'm going to be the lone naysayer here. In the time between when your (possible) exposure first occurred, you flushed your eyes, spoke with your charge nurse, went to the ED, then received eye irrigation, I think that *if* (and odds are low) any transmission occurred, it would have already occurred by the time you got your eyes irrigated in the ED. I think the most significant outcome is that it made you feel better, but doubtful that it actually had any disease transmission preventing properties.
As far as rapid testing goes, both HCV and HIV have incubation periods. The only thing accomplished by going to the ED and getting tested immediately is to determine that you aren't already infected. It has nothing to do with telling you whether disease transmission occurred during your (possible) exposure.
I do think your charge nurse's attitude was a bit laissez faire, but it is reasonable that you could have waited to to to Employee Health on the next business day and have your blood drawn then, and be evaluated for risk of transmission. This is one of the many services that Employee Health provides.
Before you ask, yes, I have experienced body fluid exposure. I know it's scary when this happens. However, I don't think it justified rushing off to the ED and leaving your floor down a nurse. You absolutely should have filled out whatever form is required, whether it be incident report or employee injury report, according to your facility's policy.
Flame away. Just keep in mind that it's already been established that I am heartless, lack compassion, and am nuts.