Full sharps containers not getting emptied!?

  1. 1
    This has become an increasing problem at the facility I work at in the clinic, urgent care, and ER area. Our sharps containers are routinely above the "full" line, often so full that you can actually reach in and pull out used sharps as our sharps containers have a wide open mouth at the top, not the flap-type used at other facilities. I understand there are many different types. I ALWAYS activate the safety guard on needles and scalpels when available. I have addressed this issue with my supervisor, infection control, housekeeping (who supposedly is supposed to empty them highly and when we page them) and with our clinical management. I have brought this issue up on numerous occasions. Nothing is being done. This is very concerning as we live in an are where IV drug use is rampant and I would not put it past a patient to pull a syringe out of a container. In addition, if a container is full, I find myself leaving a room carrying dirty sharps in search of a container. We are expecting a visit from JC in the next week or so. And i know they would not be pleased. Who else could I escalate this issue to to ensure these containers are changed to ensure the safety of our patients and staff? It's dangerous and frustrating!
    lindarn likes this.

    Get the hottest topics every week!

    Subscribe to our free Nursing Insights newsletter.

  2. 26 Comments...

  3. 1
    What happens if you call housekeeping (just as you would for a spill or something like that) and say, "the sharps container in room x needs to be changed out?"
    lindarn likes this.
  4. 0
    Our hospital is small so there is no number to call. We use an online alpha paging system. Sometimes they come, sometimes not. I try to balance paging them again with understanding that they are busy and understaffed as well. It just seems low on their list, but then if they get the chance the room is probably occupied and they won't go into it and typically won't wait for it to become free so they go do something else and the cycle continues.
  5. 3
    Trust me when the JC is there they will be dumped/changed......I have worked for small hospitals before....you are trying to change a culture...tread lightly. Ask if you can have some spare containers in the department to change yourselves....I would page housekeeping until they are changed.

    You have asked several questions about the JC survey at your facility have you never been through a survey? Take a deep breath.....the surveyors don't bite....much....LOL I'm kidding...try not to be so anxious...((HUGS))
  6. 0
    This is a nursing responsibility where I work. We recently changed to a new system and it is really hard to change these now. I have spent up to 15 mins fighting with them. Sometimes I have to give up and close the one on the wall and put a new one n top of the old one until someone else can get the old one off.
  7. 12
    Try filling out an incident report every time you find this unsafe condition as a 'near miss'. That usually gets people's attention- it does for me!
    elprup, Sugar Magnolia, Dazglue, and 9 others like this.
  8. 1
    Quote from meanmaryjean
    Try filling out an incident report every time you find this unsafe condition as a 'near miss'. That usually gets people's attention- it does for me!
    Ooooo !!!!!!!!!!!! GOOD ANSWER....I didn't think of that. my bad
    silverbat likes this.
  9. 0
    I usually change them out myself, although it's a housekeeping responsibility, and housekeeping is on our floor every day. The only time I've gone to the HK supervisor about the issue is when I went to get an empty one in our supply room and the entire shelf was empty. The least they could do was make sure we have empties!!! I chalked it up to yet another time where nursing has to do someone else's job.
  10. 0
    Agree with Esme- get some extras somewhere in the department so you can change them yourselves. I work OR, and our huge (18 gallon) sharps containers get filled quickly. Changing them out is the responsibility of the staff assigned to the room, not housekeeping. This way, we have control over ensuring there is adequate space in the sharps container for the next surgery. If we had to wait for housekeeping, there would be sharps all over the place as they only work 2nd shift in my department.
  11. 0
    And to think, on another thread, people are complaining about nurses being given the housekeepers' jobs to do...

    OP, you've done what you can. Believe me, your hospital gets tagged on it next week, it will get fixed. Most likely, it will become the nurses' job to do. But it will get fixed.


Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors
Top