help! My g/f stuck herself...

  1. Hello all, I hope this is the right forum for this.

    She is an ICU RN, ~1yr out of school. A few nights ago she messed up somehow and stuck herself in her thumb with a needle after drawing blood from a patient. (elderly man) I understand there are saftey devices that have dramatically reduced the number of these incidents. Anyways, they tried to get in touch with his family for permission to screen his blood...but they can not be found. She supposedly has to wait 6 months to know either way about HIV...

    Aside from being worried about HIV, hepatitis or any other terrible thing that can be contracted, she is also worrying about this move jeopardizing her job.

    As far as I know, she has had a flawless record, and is held in high regard overall. She is worried about this really hurting her reputation.

    Do you have any insight on this? Are there any statistics out there that may set her at ease? I apologize for coming on here with this question (as I'm clearly not a nurse) but I wanted to do something to possibly make her feel better. Thanks in advance
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  2. 41 Comments

  3. by   jmgrn65
    Getting stuck happens to most nurses in thier career. I don't think it is going to jeopardize her job. Unless she did something blatantly wrong.
  4. by   medicrnohio
    As the above poster said, most nurses get stuck during their careers. I have been stuck 3 times, the first time was my own fault but the needle had never touched a patient thankfully and the the second and third times were not my fault and there was nothing I could do to prevent those sticks.

    Unless she was not following policy or procedure I do not see where this would affect her career. Most employers accept this as something that happens.
  5. by   youngever
    I also got stuck once. I reported the incident and the hospital drew blood from me and the pt. The senior nurses advised me for not to report. Their theory were that I most likely would not get contracted even though the pt might had HIV or hepatitis as long as I was healthy. That was the wrong info they gave. By the way, luckily, the pt did not have any of those diseases. Follow the protocol of the hospital. Although one is exposed to the HIV or hepatitis, there are preventive treatments as long as the one reports within 24 hrs. In addition, the incident did not interfere with my career. Good luck with your friend!

  6. by   BSNtobe2009
    Quote from Malloy
    Hello all, I hope this is the right forum for this.

    She is an ICU RN, ~1yr out of school. A few nights ago she messed up somehow and stuck herself in her thumb with a needle after drawing blood from a patient. (elderly man) I understand there are saftey devices that have dramatically reduced the number of these incidents. Anyways, they tried to get in touch with his family for permission to screen his blood...but they can not be found. She supposedly has to wait 6 months to know either way about HIV...

    Aside from being worried about HIV, hepatitis or any other terrible thing that can be contracted, she is also worrying about this move jeopardizing her job.

    As far as I know, she has had a flawless record, and is held in high regard overall. She is worried about this really hurting her reputation.

    Do you have any insight on this? Are there any statistics out there that may set her at ease? I apologize for coming on here with this question (as I’m clearly not a nurse) but I wanted to do something to possibly make her feel better. Thanks in advance
    The only problem I find with this post, is most hospitals will refuse to admit a patient, or even treat them, unless they sign documents stating if one of their staff members is stuck, cut, or otherwise exposed unprotected to a patient's bodily fluids. It gives the hospital the right to withdraw blood and test it without additional permission.

    You didn't say anything about the elderly man being mentally incapacitated, so why do they need to contact his family for permission? If he is lucid, then he can give permission directly. Being elderly doesn't make you incapacitated.

    Your girlfriend needs to be speaking with the superiors at the hospital. However, I do find it odd you are more concerned for her job than her health.
  7. by   wooh
    ^Unfortunately not true. My last job, you had to get specific permission.
  8. by   TazziRN
    If the pt is low risk then she shouldn't have anything to worry about. Yes, you need permission unless there is no family, then the doc can order it. No, it will not cost her her job. People cannot be fired for work comp injuries, it's illegal. And even with the safety devices it is not impossible to stick youself. I actually got stuck once when the safety guard failed.

    That said, I have been stuck so many times in my career that when it happens I just roll my eyes and stick out my arm for a blood draw. By the grace of God I have not been stuck with needles from high-risk pts, but most pts are not high risk. I even got splashed with emesis from a pt we were trying to intubate; I just looked at the doc and asked if there was anything in the pt's history I needed to worry about and kept going. It's going to happen, no matter how careful she is. Her job will not be in jeopardy, where did she get that idea???

    However, I do find it odd you are more concerned for her job than her health.
    The OP clearly states it's his GF that is concerned about the status of her job, he wants to reassure her.
  9. by   Tweety
    Here in Florida getting permission is a mere formality. You can test the blood in the lab if they refuse to be stuck again.

    Getting a needlestick will not get her fired.

    I recently got a needlestick and it indeed is nervewracking. I opted out of taking the meds and was luckily o.k.
  10. by   BSNtobe2009
    Quote from TazziRN
    If the pt is low risk then she shouldn't have anything to worry about. Yes, you need permission unless there is no family, then the doc can order it. No, it will not cost her her job. People cannot be fired for work comp injuries, it's illegal. And even with the safety devices it is not impossible to stick youself. I actually got stuck once when the safety guard failed.

    That said, I have been stuck so many times in my career that when it happens I just roll my eyes and stick out my arm for a blood draw. By the grace of God I have not been stuck with needles from high-risk pts, but most pts are not high risk. I even got splashed with emesis from a pt we were trying to intubate; I just looked at the doc and asked if there was anything in the pt's history I needed to worry about and kept going. It's going to happen, no matter how careful she is. Her job will not be in jeopardy, where did she get that idea???



    The OP clearly states it's his GF that is concerned about the status of her job, he wants to reassure her.
    Why can't the patient give consent?
  11. by   BSNtobe2009
    Quote from wooh
    ^Unfortunately not true. My last job, you had to get specific permission.
    Well, I'm basing that on the fact I haven't been admitted anywhere in the last 15 years where they didn't make me sign one of those forms. Maybe it's a state thing. But they make me sign that form even when I got to the doctor's office and it's part of the routine paperwork. The ER's have it, and unless you are going to die in the waiting room, if you don't sign the form, they will refuse treatment.
  12. by   TazziRN
    Quote from BSNtobe2009
    The ER's have it, and unless you are going to die in the waiting room, if you don't sign the form, they will refuse treatment.
    Next time they try that, threaten them with EMTALA. They can't do that.
  13. by   truern
    At my hospital the form you sign in the ED/on admission is only consent for treatment. Any testing for HIV requires a separate consent and is only used in the event of a needlestick.
  14. by   Ms.RN
    I dont understand this. Doesnt this nurse have a right to find out if she is at risk for transmitting disease? Does she really need conset from her family? I dont think this hospital needs family consent if they need to do blood work like CBC, electrolyte do they? Cant doctor write an order to check for HIV or hepatits?

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