"Safer" Specialties - page 2

I have no idea yet where I might want to go with a specialty - starting school in the fall. My dad is an oncologist, so that intrigues me, though I know that the grief issues can be tough. In... Read More

  1. by   RN4NICU
    Quote from secondfiddle
    thanks for the replies, everyone.

    maybe i should rephrase my question a little - i think i made it seem like i don't want to come into contact with blood/fluids at all (obviously not possible)! i was just wondering if there were some specialties where chance of blood splatter or accidents were more common.

    but my main question for all of you is this - how dangerous is nursing, really? i think i may have myself irrationally scared from some of the things i've read (especially regarding hep c). does anybody have any statistics that might help make this a little clearer?
    s**t happens, regardless of specialty *yes, even nicu*
    (anyone who thinks otherwise has obviously never seen a uac get accidently pulled out) here's a little clue - if mom has it, there is a chance that baby does too. the risk is slightly less in a normal newborn nursery, but those are practically extinct now (maybe 3% of hospitals still have them). usually if there is one, it is covered by l&d staff - can't say there is no body fluid splashing there...

    the fact that any patient can have hep c (or hiv, or herpes, or *fill in the blank with something you really do not want to contract or take home*) is the rationale behind universal precautions - you treat every patient as if they had a communicable disease. handle sharps carefully. wear gloves (and a gown, when indicated).

    as a bedside nurse, you are more likely to destroy your back than you are to contract a blood-borne disease from a patient.

    here is a link to the american social health administration's facts and answers about hepatitis c.


    also, you wanted some stats. this is the only one i found (from the cdc):

    what is the risk for hcv infection from a needle-stick exposure to hcv contaminated blood?
    after needle stick or sharps exposure to hcv positive blood , about 2 (1.8%) healthcare workers out of 100 will get infected with hcv (range 0%-10%).

    keep in mind - this information reflects a needle stick or sharps exposure (punctured skin by a sharp object contaminated with hcv). the risk lowers significantly when the health care worker's 1st line of defense (the skin) remains intact. so, as you can see, it is very uncommon. you also should keep in mind not every patient you come into contact with is going to have something like hep c or hiv. it is not all that common. the most important thing to keep in mind, however, is that if you do not protect yourself - and wind up contracting the disease - your chances are then 100%.
    Last edit by RN4NICU on Jan 29, '05