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Needlestick Injuries Scaring Me Away From Nursing, HELP! :(

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by xoshelbugxo xoshelbugxo (New) New

577 Profile Views; 3 Posts

Hi Everyone,

My name is Shelby and I have been reading this board for quite awhile now. I am currently working on my undergrad, and have ALWAYS known that I have to have a career in the medical field. It's what I'm meant for and I won't be content if I'm not helping the lives of patients. I am planning on either being a NP or a PA. There is something, though, that is causing me a lot of stress and worry. I have always been terrified, since I was a little girl, (maybe I'm a little OCD, ;) of somehow contracting HIV or HEP. Now that I read more into needlestick injuries for healthcare professionals, it seems to happen way more than I ever imagined, and it certainly doesn't seem like being careful and cautious is a sure fire way to prevent sticking yourself. I was donating blood the other day and asked the nurses on the bus how they felt about it, and one replied that "every day feels like a possible death sentence." Talk about encouragement. =/ I know the chances of contracting anything even if you are stuck with a needle positive for something are very low, especially with the PEP treatment (PEP? PPE? I think I read PEP..), but it is still so scary. I read an old post on here from a girl who DID contract HIV, a very young girl in her 20's. I couldn't imagine that happening to me. I want to marry and have children, not lose my life trying to do something to help others. :( My boyfriend is also planning on nursing school, and he just seems so cool and unworried about it. Maybe I am over thinking things, but I can just see me being the one in a million who gets THAT needle. Anyway, I know I'm just rambling now, but this concern really has me stressing out as the undergrad classes I take now depend on what I do. I am either planning on majoring in Nursing for my BSN, or in Health Science to go on to get my PA certificate. Please share any and all opinions, encouragment, validate my fears, anything!!

Thank you very, very much for taking the time to read my rambling. :)

Shelby

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tokmom has 30 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Certified Med/Surg tele, and other stuff.

4,568 Posts; 48,424 Profile Views

It is a concern, but IMO, if you wanted to be a nurse or in the medical field it would not stop me.

As for that comment from the blood mobile person. their chances are increased because they do deal with blood and sharp needles. If you are a floor nurse, most of the needles you come in contact with have safety measures built in.

Even the IV needle retracts, after placing the IV.

You might work in a facility or with a group of people that are low risk, thereby decreasing your chance of anything happening.

Out of my 20 yrs of nursing, I stuck myself once out of my own stupidity. I used a port on an IV set that needed a needle, not a screw on further up the line.

Lesson learned. Use the needless ports when you can, which is 99.9% of the time, and don't space out when handling needles.

As soon as I'm done with any IV start, or needle, the first thing I do is secure the needle.

Yes, needle sticks still do happen, but so do car accidents and yet you still drive. :)

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RN58186 has 28 years experience and specializes in Nephrology.

143 Posts; 6,554 Profile Views

I have been nursing for 24 years and have never had a needlestick injury. And things have sure changed since I started - we didn't have the safety measures in place on needles that there are now. Yes, it is a possibility but so are many other things in life and we take those risks everyday. I would go into nursing again in a heartbeat. The thought of needlesticks never concerned me, I learned to be careful and to take the risk seriously but I didn't get obsessive about it.

If you really want to be a nurse just learn to be careful. There is risk associated with every career choice we make. It is how we manage those risks that makes the difference.

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180 Posts; 5,331 Profile Views

Im studying at the moment for my BSN straight out of high school.Even as a child I wanted to be a nurse but tried to think of other careers because even at the age of 12/13 I knew what a needle stick injury was. I was scared so I was thinking about maybe becoming a teacher. However I still felt I really wanted to be a nurse and applied to nursing school and got in. In my first year we learned about proper waste disposal, including sharps. We learned what to do to prevent getting a needle stick injury and we learned what to do if we do sustain one. I was SOOO nervous when I gave my first needle but then I learned that I was good at giving them and many patients said how they didnt feel a thing! (now i know it was only a subcut...but still!!) I was soo pleased with myself and I was asking my preceptors if I could give the subcuts...something I thought I would avoid. I really dont mind doing them now at all!! There is no denying that there is a risk but with that risk in mind, all one can do is to try and be very careful and make sure to follow preventative measures to avoid getting a needle stick injury. I love nursing school and Im glad I went into nursing :)

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Sparrowhawk specializes in LTC.

664 Posts; 11,062 Profile Views

I have been a nurse for three years and stuck myself once with a clean needle...

As long as you are cautious, the risk is low..and you can get vaccinated from Hep B. :) I'm OCD too, and I worry about it to, but it didnt stop me and you shouldn't let it stop you.

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44 Posts; 1,864 Profile Views

I too STRUGGLED with becoming a nurse because I have/had a very intense phobia of contracting a blood borne pathogen (such as HIV, ect) since I was a little girl.

I knew God was calling me to leave school for social work and to become a nurse. I decided to be proactive and sought counseling through a church before I was to start school. What I learned in 'group' and the healing I feel I received has helped me tremendously over this last year I've been in nursing school. However, I personally, have to make a choice every time to trust God, and stay focused, while I am handling needles and/or bodily fluids.

I would encourage you to look into where your fear is rooted and seek healing and coping skills to handle that fear when it comes up. May you find strength and peace.

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demylenated has 18 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Addiction, Psych, Geri, Hospice, MedSurg.

261 Posts; 7,376 Profile Views

I've been a nurse 12 years. 1 stick, and I am an IV therapy nurse (AND, it was a clean needle).

The odds of getting HIV from a needle stick is less than 1 %, like 0.1 I think. Hep B is bigger but not much.

Valid concern, but with all the safety precautions, doesn't happen an awful lot... and contracting something even less so. Biggest thing is do not recap.

Here is a great read...

http://www.nursingworld.org/FunctionalMenuCategories/MediaResources/MediaBackgrounders/NeedlestickPrevention.aspx

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demylenated has 18 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Addiction, Psych, Geri, Hospice, MedSurg.

261 Posts; 7,376 Profile Views

Keep in mind this depends on the size of the needle, the bore, and everything... but worse case:

"The risk of infection after exposure to infected blood varies by bloodborne pathogen. The risk of transmission after exposure to HIV-infected blood is about 0.3%, whereas it is estimated to be up to 100 times greater for hepatitis B virus (6-30%) and could be as high as 1.8-10% for hepatitis C virus."

http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/diseases/needlestick_injuries.html

If you have the hep B series, you are pretty safe.

Edited by demylenated

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OCNRN63 is a RN and specializes in Oncology; medical specialty website.

5,978 Posts; 54,283 Profile Views

"Every day feels like a death sentence"? Wow. Melodramatic, much?

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Juwon has 2 years experience and specializes in LTC currently.

192 Posts; 5,612 Profile Views

Like the OP, I also think about the possibility of getting stuck with a needle, but I try not to dwell on something so small. Just got to be cautious, and also point the needle away from you, so if an accident do occur, you will not be on the receiving end.

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3,408 Posts; 29,543 Profile Views

"Every day feels like a death sentence"? Wow. Melodramatic, much?

Yeah, this strikes me as a bit melodramatic. If it feels like a daily death sentence....why not find another area of nursing that doesn't deal exclusively with blood and needles?

To the OP, I haven't been a nurse that long, and no needle sticks yet. All you can do is be careful and pay extra special attention when working with sharps. If you're dealing with a patient who is not holding still (peds or combative drunk/psych patients) get help before proceeding. Safety your sharps as soon as you can and put them in the sharps box right away.

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itsmejuli specializes in Home Care.

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I could try to cross the street tomorrow and get hit by a car and die. Better odds than catching a disease at work.

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