Full sharps containers not getting emptied!? | allnurses

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!
  2. Visit  Beanyamean profile page

    About Beanyamean

    Beanyamean has '-' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'BLS/ALS/CVAS'. From 'Other'; Joined Aug '13; Posts: 14; Likes: 7.

    26 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  Altra profile page
    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. Visit  Beanyamean profile page
    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. Visit  Esme12 profile page
    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. Visit  Pepper The Cat profile page
    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. Visit  meanmaryjean profile page
    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. Visit  Esme12 profile page
    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. Visit  dudette10 profile page
    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. Visit  Rose_Queen profile page
    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. Visit  wooh profile page
    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.
  12. Visit  Rose_Queen profile page
    Quote from wooh
    And to think, on another thread, people are complaining about nurses being given the housekeepers' jobs to do...
    I view sharps safety as everyone's responsibility regardless of job title. An overly full sharps bin compromises that safety.
    Last edit by Rose_Queen on Sep 11, '13 : Reason: hit submit too soon
    kcochrane and nrsang97 like this.
  13. Visit  Beanyamean profile page
    I agree with everyone. I personally have no issues changing the containers myself. It takes just a minute or two to do it. Our containers are wall mounted in a locked container that require a key that only housekeeping has. There is talk of giving us a key to put in our med cabinet, and placing spare sharps containers in the housekeeping closet that we all have keys to. We frequently access the housekeeping closet for various reasons and I rarely notice empty containers stored there. One of the clinic nurses mentioned filing a complaint with OSHA which would trigger an inspection, but that would open a HUGE can of worms. The answer really seems simple: give us an easily accessible key, lots of empty containers. Problem solved. Very few of us have a problem swapping it out. Except those that are too lazy/busy/don't care enough to take 5 minutes to do it.
    Regarding other posts of mine, JC was only mentioned in one of them. This is not the first time JC has been at my facility. Last time 2 people lost their jobs due to non-compliance of obvious regulations. I am asking questions and seeking advice on how to handle them stressing the importance of the situation due to the upcoming visit. I guess I should have just left JC out of it. But it doesn't change how important how these issues could be.
    Altra likes this.
  14. Visit  wooh profile page
    Quote from Sweet_Wild_Rose
    I view sharps safety as everyone's responsibility regardless of job title. An overly full sharps bin compromises that safety.
    Of course when it's "everyone's" responsibility, it becomes the nurses' responsibility on top of everything else that's the nurses' responsibility. And if the nurse thinks that someone else could do it (you know, some other part of the "everyone") then the nurse is lazy. Cite to every thread by a CNA in a nursing home complaining that all the nurses there do is chart. Is the nurse lazy if they think housekeeping could mop the floor? (Infection control is everyone's responsibility.) After all, it only takes a couple minutes. How about cleaning the toilets? How about making everyone's meals?

    It's time EVERYONE in the hospital is held responsible for doing their job instead of playing, "How can we add this to the list of things the nurse is responsible for and can't possibly finish in 12 hours?" because it only takes a few minutes. Sure, the nurses CAN do it. Nurses CAN do everything. Doesn't mean we should.
    Sammie7, Dazglue, Hygiene Queen, and 6 others like this.

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