Please help-Pregnant nurse caring for chemo patient

  1. I posted last night in the oncology section but nobody answered, so I am moving my question here in hopes someone will know. I'm an acute care RN, newly pregnant and we sometimes have oral chemo patients on our unit. I took care of one last night who was on hydroxyurea. The chemo nurse gave the drug. I used universal precautions by wearing regular latex gloves when handling blood & body fluids and caring for him. However, now I am freaking out about possibly harming my pregnancy. I didn't wear gloves at times when touching him directly when no body fluid was involved (shaking his hand, assessment,etc.) Nobody at work knows I am pregnant, and I don't work on oncology. I plan to discuss this with my OB, but my appt isn't for a few days. Are there any oncology RNs who can reassure me that I am probably fine? I am panicking right now. I figured it was safe, since I didn't touch the chemo, but the more I think about it, I wish I had NO contact with that patient.
    Last edit by Genista on May 19, '07
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   TazziRN
    Kona, you would be justified in calling your OB with this question from outside the office. I know next to nothing about chemo drugs but I seem to remember that, although pregnant women should not handle chemo drugs, if you wore gloves you were protected at least somewhat. I could be way off base, you need to call your doc. Especially if you have any shifts scheduled between now and your appointment.
  4. by   NRSKarenRN
    highest risk for nurse is handeling chemotherapeutic agent itself from skin absorption in preparing, admixing and administering chemo drug. these days most hospital based chemo prepared by pharmacist under laminar flow hoods so nursing exposure greatly reduced.

    antineoplastic agents are excreted from the body through fluids such as sweat, vomitus, stool, and urine. wearing gloves, eye shield when emptying urinal/bedbans, cover gown if patient incontient and care provided etc reduces exposure to almost nil from chemo. sounds like you utilized proper precautions. washing hands with good old fashioned soap and water decreases contact time of chemo agent with intact skin too--gel alcohol does provide enough of skin flush.
    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...n17207179/pg_5

    nurse.com - hazardous drugs can harm nurses

    a review of personal protective equipment standards for nurses administering chemotherapy scroll 1/2 down page

    as pregnant rn, its hospitalized patients wtih active infections not yet diagnosed that propose higher risk to you and fetus. using ppe and following universal precautions will be your best protection.
  5. by   Genista
    Thanks for the replies! I did not wear a gown or eye shield when emptying commode, etc. Also did not glove to shake his hand, or generally assess him. But I wore gloves for all the *big* deals like changing bloody linen, empty commode,etc. Washed hands after left room each time as per norm. Crossing fingers that all went well with minimal to no exposure. I appreciate the links & info. Thank you!
  6. by   Jo Dirt
    I had a patient in the nursing home on cytotec while I was pregnant and was told to double glove when handling her medications.
  7. by   mayflower2000
    HI! I know how you feel. I've been there. I work in hematology unit. When i was pregnant till i delivered my baby, i was handling blood and body fluids
    all the time by using apron and gloves. Best thing to do, inform your supervisor that you are pregnant and that you will still have to see your ob.
    my ward manager would always tell us that "if you suspect you are pregnant, let me know straight away even if it still needs to be confirmed by seeing your ob". Here, the unit i where i work for, they would always do a pregnancy risk assessment. i still gave oral chemo by using gloves. For iv chemo, my collegues would spike it for me. Hope this help.
    Last edit by mayflower2000 on Jun 2, '07
  8. by   PedsRN22
    I know this post is really old but I am in the same situation and I'm just looking for more info. Can anyone provide any input as to what the damage can be even if you get just a drop of urine somewhere? I too double gloved or used the extra thick gloves but I did not wear eye protection. I did not spike the chemo either (I am not chemo certified). Thank you for your time.

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