Second needlestick in 2 weeks

  1. As above, I have had 2 needlestick injuries, both insulin needles, in 2 weeks. Stupid I know, I am about 2 months into orientation as a new nurse. The first one the safety cover was on all the way, I had 2 in my hands after administration, and was talking to about a million family members, and touched the end of it, somehow piercing skin. Negative for hep C and HIV.

    The second one, I was hurrying since I had 5 insulins to give in 30 minutes, again working almost 13 hours without a lunch break, and touched the end of it before I could get it to the container. I washed it right away, but did not report it this time, for fear of being fired. Now I am quite nervous since she is a LT dialysis pt, obese, end of life, mostly non-verbal.

    Would I likely be fired for reporting the second needlestick, even if it's less than 24 hours? Not sure that my health is worth a job that would fire me for this stupidity, even overworked stupidity.
    Last edit by Dreamer323 on Sep 24
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    About Dreamer323

    Joined: Sep '18; Posts: 3

    12 Comments

  3. by   JKL33
    You need to slow down. You're on a bad trajectory. Don't let others' problems make you feel compelled to practice in an unsafe manner. You have to take whatever time it takes to be conscientious/careful.
  4. by   Accolay
    What JKL said. I don't know if you would be fired, but it would give your manager pause- you learned nothing from your first needle stick injury and exposure. And now you didn't do the right thing and report it.

    Why are you working such long hours so soon into your career? Take you time while you're new: "slow is fast." Do the right thing. Build good habits now, or else you may find you will continue bad ones for the rest of your career.
  5. by   Triddin
    Don't your facilities needles have safety locks you can engage once you've given a medication via needle to prevent incidences like this?

    Also, your health is much more important than a job
  6. by   Dreamer323
    Yes, they do have safety locks, which did not help me in the first case. I hadn't gotten to use the safety lock yet on the second one.

    These are just the hours I have, not usually overtime every week, but of course long days with little break. I am also in the float pool, which means I have to be familiar with multiple floors and layouts, and can have a lot of patients in one day. I am also taking two BSN classes, getting paperwork ready for a practicum course, in a nurse residency program, and my wife and I have a baby on the way in about a month. I'll be switching to overnights in about a week too.

    I did see the pt had all her Heb B vaccines, as do I of course. Nothing of course about HIV, since I didn't report it, or labs for liver enzymes were available.
  7. by   Been there,done that
    You already know you need to slow down. You should be counseled by your preceptor.
    That will include following protocol as for any needle stick. Occupational health will do what they do to protect you.

    No job is worth worrying if you contracted something from a patient.
  8. by   Aunt Slappy
    No matter how many people are around or what else is going on, needle safety comes first. Always. Tell the family members, "Excuse me, I need to dispose this needle." ALWAYS engage the safety mechanism as the absolute first thing you do after finishing using the needle. Weren't you taught needle safety in school? I dunno about you, but HIV and Hepatitis risk were enough to make me pay attention.

    And PS if you contract anything and didn't report the needle stick, you get all the bills. Workers' comp won't cover a dime. So report it.
  9. by   CalicoKitty
    When your needles have a safety lock, it should be basically out of habit to remove the needle from the patient and slide the safety on. Same hand that holds the needle. Practice with a few needles to get the feel of it. I would try not to let the needle be more than a few inches from the patient before having the tip secured. Then I get almost obsessive about putting sharps in the sharps container. Then clean up.

    Take a lunch break. Sit down. Eat lunch. It is necessary, and a part of your job to yourself.
  10. by   111th
    The only thing they would do with the new BFE is test this patient. By now you should already know if you are immune to Hep B and C, should be up to date on your Tdap, and know if you are HIV negative. You should be having routine visits for the first exposure for one year so you will know if anything changes.

    Try to breathe and slow down. You'll be okay.

    Edit to say that of course the right thing is to report it. You're only human.
    Last edit by 111th on Sep 24
  11. by   Aunt Slappy
    Quote from 111th
    By now you should already know if you are immune to Hep B and C
    I have never had a HepC titer and there is no vaccine, so what are you talking about?
  12. by   111th
    Quote from Aunt Slappy
    I have never had a HepC titer and there is no vaccine, so what are you talking about?
    I apologize, I typed that incorrectly. I used to work for a clinic who routinely took care of post-exposure patients. It is routine to draw titers for Hep B and C. You can show immunity to Hep B of course, and Hep C should come back as "nonreactive." These lab draws need to be repeated throughout the year (1 month, 3 month, 6 month, 9 month and 1 year if I remember correctly).

    I worked for a large hospital system that required all employees to have a Hep C titer drawn for employment. Only hospital out of 5 that did though. Still not positive what they would do if it came back reactive...nothing? Educate importance of standard precautions?
  13. by   AceOfHearts<3
    Quote from 111th
    I worked for a large hospital system that required all employees to have a Hep C titer drawn for employment. Only hospital out of 5 that did though. Still not positive what they would do if it came back reactive...nothing? Educate importance of standard precautions?
    I worked for a hospital that tested for Hep C upon hire so they had a baseline if a needle stick occurred.
  14. by   psu_213
    A couple things come to mind (most of which has been said in one form or another):

    1. Slow down. I know when things are busy it is only natural to try and go fast, but this is how errors happen. Those errors can post a safety risk both to you and the patient.
    2. Report all needle sticks right away. I can't speak for your employer, but I can't imagine them firing you for sticking yourself too many times. Heck, they may even see that there is a problem with their insulin needles, the safety lock, and/or the number of and position of sharps bins.
    3. Throw a used needle in the nearest sharps bin right away. Tell families, "excuse me for one moment while I dispose of this needle. I don't want anyone to get accidentally stuck by it." I think even the most unreasonable of families will grant you 20 seconds to correctly dispose of a sharp. Don't take needles in the hall, don't even stop to answer a question between you and the sharps bin--get it to that bin and toss it.

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