Needle Stick

  1. Hi. I am a student nurse doing my preceptorship at a community health clinic.
    Yesterday I was stuck by an IM needle while giving a flu shot. The man I was giving the injection to has Hep C! I am so worried, I have had baseline blood work how do I survive the next three months until the next blood test? Any advice?
  2. Visit Frautara profile page

    About Frautara

    Joined: Nov '01; Posts: 3


  3. by   Adrena
    Hey Tara,
    I feel for you! I got stuck by a needle last year. The pt. was extremely sick and it was very scary.
    I don't really have any advice. You just need to take care of yourself and try to relax until the next bloodwork is drawn. I'm sorry, there's just not much else that you can do unfortunately.
    If you feel like writing and talking about it, that would be fine with me.
    Take Care.
  4. by   P_RN
    Oh my I've been there before. Hep B patient who was a prostitute!

    Was it a "dirty" needle-that is AFTER it was withdrawn?

    If it was a clean needle...BEFORE you gave the will be OK.

    Just keep up your strength. And I'll be praying for you .
  5. by   st4304
    Last year I had blood sprayed into my eyes (yes, I had on glasses) during a cardiac cath. Even though the patient was an elderly woman who agreed to have her blood tested and everything turned out negative, the experience really made me feel vulnerable. It made me think of how it would affect, not only me, but my family if I got hepatitis or AIDS.

    As nurses, we put ourselves at risk everyday, no matter how careful we are.

    I'm sure everything will turn out okay, but let us know, okay?
  6. by   StaceRacer1
    I had a needle stick three months into my career. I was quite scared!!! Not only for me, BUT for my husband!! I was torn up about it for a long time and found myself crying about it a lot. How could I be so clumbsy was the phrase that kept going through my mind!! This is great, what a way to start a my NEW career!!
    Then my Husband helped me out by reciting His favorite Prayer to me.

    "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change
    the courage to change the things I can
    and the wisdom to know the difference."

    If you believe, then let God take away your worries!!

    I am not trying to PREACH to you at all, but I am aware of what you are going through!! PURE HELL!! You probablly have pictured your whole life fly by you in one instance because of that one stupid and clumbsy mistake!! I did!!

    Hold strong. Take care. And I will say a prayer for You.
  7. by   KRVRN
    I had a needle incident while giving flu shots during nursing school 2 years ago. I don't know that I myself would call it a needle stick, but that's what everyone else called it.

    We had tables set up in the middle of the quad at my university. There were chairs for the people to sit at the ends of the tables. The problem was that the needle box was in the center of the table because there was one box for each end. There was no way to give the shot, then drop the syringe into the box without walking all the way around the person to do it. So what we all ended up doing was laying the syringe on the table, putting on the band aid, then throwing the needle away after the person got up. This was before those safety needles with the flip-up guard.

    Anyway, one guy had laid his flu shot info sheet on the table while he got the shot. Without thinking, I put the needle on top of it when I was done. He got up immediately after I was done, before I could pick up the needle. When he picked up his sheet, the needle fell down and grazed my thigh on the way down. It just so happens that I live in SoCal and it was hot that day so I was wearing shorts.

    Right after it happened I didn't say anything because it looked like there was no damage. After a few minutes the area got red and you could tell there was a break in the skin, not a stick, but more of a scratch. I put on some antibacterial gel and decided I was done doing flu shots. I went to student health and was told that it was extremely low risk, even if the guy had anything (which I don't know).

    I realize your situation is be different, Frautara. A stick is different than a scratch. But I want to tell you something that they told me ---IM needles are less of a risk because they are not blood-filled, like an IV or blood-drawing needle would be. Less blood involved, less risk. Not ZERO risk, but less. Obviously that won't fully take your worry away, but I did want to share that with you.

    And a lesson... Don't wear shorts. It's just not worth the risk. I would even say that wearing a dress is risky as well. This would never have been an issue had I been wearing pants. This was an on-the-spot volunteer thing which was why I didn't have pants on. The real problem was that the needle box was too inaccessible. Always insist that it be within your IMMEDIATE reach, or don't do shots!

    If it's one of these quick temporary set-ups, do a quick visual. Are things in good position for safety? Especially the needle boxes. A risk to your health isn't worth some experience giving IM's.
  8. by   CATHYW
    My question is like PRN's-were you actually injured by a clean or used needle? My first needlestick was when I was recapping a DT I had just drawn up. Can't get much luckier than that! The second was recapping a needle I had used to draw blood. Someone jostled my arm, and I hit the thenar web of my left hand. Fortunately, again, it was a little old lady with CP-no prior hx of anything, no blood transfusions, only surgery was GB removal. We were both tested, and everything came back clean.

    If your needle had been used, mu suggestion is to take really good care of yourself. Get adequate rest, eat well, take vitamins, drink lots of water, and exercise-outdoors if you can. If you haven't been exposed, you will feel much better for having taken care of yourself, and enjoying the beautiful outdoors God gave us. If there was an exposure, you will have yourself in prime condition to combat it!

    Take care, and let us know how things work out!
  9. by   remail99
    I had a stick in July. The pt. had HCV, and consequently died from liver failure. Thankfully my 6 month labs came back clean.

    The chance of aquiring HCV is only 1.5-3% with such a small exposure. Not much consolation, but I hope it make you feel a little better.

    Everyone- Be aware of sharps!
  10. by   Frautara
    First of all I would really like to thank everyone who replied to my makes me feel like I'm not a complete idiot and it does (unfortunately) happen to other people!
    As far as the stick goes, it was a dirty needle. To make matters worse the patient is not only hep C positive, he is an IV drug user. Needless to say my anxiety level is pretty high right now. The patient agreed to return to the clinic for a HIV test (as of 1999 he was neg.), and in 10 days I will have the result.
    Do any of you have any experience with prophylactic drugs for HIV? I haven't been able to get a clear answer about them, and I know they are supposed to be started soon after exposure.
    I realize that the IM exposure was low risk, but the fact that the patient was so high risks makes me very nervous!
    thanks for all of your words of advice!
  11. by   Huganurse
    Praying for you.
    Last edit by Huganurse on Jun 30, '02
  12. by   KRVRN

    Was it the clinic where this happened that didn't seem to be able to tell you much about post-exposure HIV drugs? Or was it your instructors and other people? I'm just asking because I can imagine the clinic maybe not wanting to deal with providing those meds for you. Those drugs are expensive and I'm sure they don't want to provide them to you without a fight.

    Everyone, correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't that clinic have to cover her under Worker's Comp for this? I remember being told when I was a student that any injury during my clinicals could fall under Worker's Comp. I suppose it could depend on the nature of the injury, but even so, a needle stick should, right?

    I agree with Huganurse, consider going or calling the ER or an urgent care. Do you have a private doctor or is there a student health clinic or school nurse at your college? Go ask about it. From the sounds of the person, he's very high risk for having HIV and you very well might need some kind of post-exposure prophylaxis. Ask if there's any prophylaxis for Hep. C exposure (I don't even know). Just make sure you've asked someone other than that clinic. And I assume you've done the Hep. B series since you're in nursing school. Your titer came out immune for that right? Just cover that base too.

    Hang in there, I know it's rough. And let us know what his result is.
  13. by   Frautara
    Here is what happened. I didn't get treated for the stick at the community clinic where I work because it is my school's protocol to go to the nearest ER. The closest ER didn't want to treat me because I was not an employee of the hospital, and they said I needed to go to student health (which was an hour away). After a call to my instructor the ER agreed to draw my baseline HIV, hep C, hep B, and liver panel, but said I had to go elsewhere for followup. I asked the NP in the ER about prophylactic drugs, but did not get a definitive answer from her. Three days latter I still do not know whether these drugs are something I should be taking or if the exposure was so low risk that they are not needed. I called my own provider (a FNP), and she gave me a number to an infectious disease physician, who I will call tomorrow. I have had the Hep B vaccinations and a titer was taken a year ago and I was fine, so I guess I am OK in that regard.
    Thanks again for all the advice and words of support!
  14. by   canoehead
    According to our facilities' protocol the stick you got was low risk, and the incidence of side effects from antiviral drugs exceeds the risk of contracting the HIV. We tend to be very careful to administer the meds ASAP after a high risk stick so hopefully that will ease your mind a bit.