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Needle Stick injury

by Diadai2021 Diadai2021 (New) New Nurse Student Pre-Student

I've heard of nurses who have been pricked by a needle that could carry diseases and hearing that has really discouraged me from wanting to become a nurse. Is this something I should be scared of, or should I not be worried? Also, what are some tips to prevent this?

FolksBtrippin, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Public Health.

It's not really a big deal. It doesn't happen that often because of safety devices on needles.

It did happen to me once. I went to occ health, the person whose needle stuck me voluntarily tested for Hep B, HIV and I forget what else. He was negative. The chances of actually getting HIV from a needle stick are very, very, very small. The chances of getting Hep B are bigger, but most of us are vaccinated. I am not actually immune to Hep B because my body does not respond to the vaccine. So I was a little concerned, but it turned out to be nothing.

Of all the reasons to avoid nursing, this one doesn't even make the list.


Specializes in LTC.

Needlestick injuries ARE occupational injury risks for healthcare providers. But so are slips and falls. And catching scabies. But employers are legally mandated to provide safety measures and serious education that minimizes the employee risks.

So bottom line is that you'll most likely be as safe as you can be, as long as you follow good technique that you'll learn.

Just for an example though, a nurse friend was needle-stuck. She put a paper towel into a trash receptacle in a shopping mall's public restroom and got pricked. No way to know if it was a junkie needle, an unused clean needle, or from someone just so dumb to dispose of it there after use.

Who 'da thunk it!?!?

Don't let that worry deter you.

HiddencatBSN, BSN

Specializes in Peds ED. Has 10 years experience.

Back injuries are a much bigger risk, much more common. Pay attention to your body mechanics, do strength exercises that address your full core (abs, back, and butt), always ask for help or use assistive devices when moving patients.

Agree with those above...given the size of the risk and the number of practices, tools and policies that mitigate that risk even further, this would be far down on a list of concerns about risks in nursing.

That is a possibility, but that alone should not deter you from becoming a nurse. Always just be careful and know how to safely dispose of a needle and be extra aware when using one so you don't poke yourself or others accidentally.

Chickenlady, ADN

Specializes in ER, GI, Occ Health. Has 7 years experience.

Only happened once: I was stuck when I went to bag a patient's clothes and he had dirty syringes in his pants pockets. Could have happened to any staff member, I just was the unlucky one. Had a month of preventative antivirals and a year of blood tests, but it was all good in the end

NightNerd, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-surg/tele. Has 7 years experience.

I have had way too many needlesticks. My first was awful: de-accessing a port from a deceased patient after aged been gone for a few hours (family was VERY bereaved and wouldn't let anyone into the room for a while). It was very challenging to remove that port, and when I finally got it out it went right into my thumb. It wasn't a fun night, but after a few follow ups with employee health, I felt pretty safe. This was five years ago and I'm just fine.

I have had two since and they were in situations where I was stressed and moving too fast, thereby not making sure the safety was all the way engaged. Thus, my best advice to you is to simply take your time and be mindful of where your hands are in relation to the needle. Getting a needlestick is honestly more of a pain than anything else, and your risk of contracting any communicable illness (especially if the needle goes through your glove first before sticking you) is extremely low.