Question about the dreaded "Needlestick"

Specialties Ob/Gyn


In our facility it is common practice, and encouraged, for dad's, family's of newborns to hang out at the warmer while the newborn assessment is going on. That is wonderful, for bonding and all of that, however, what happens when the family is so allover the baby ( and will not back up ) when the RN is trying to give shots. This happened to me and guess what? I got a needlestick. Luckily, it was a clean needle. Unluckily, It went through gloves that I had on when I touched the newborn. They were not bloody. The newborn had been dried off with rough surgical towels twice before this happened. I love my job, however, this incident has stressed me out so much, that I have actually thought of giving up on nursing. Now, I don't know if I should wait and be tested for HIV/HEP C (I'm immune to HEP B) or not worry about the possible exposure. Mom was negative on pre-natals with no Medical Hx. Info given to me by every agency that deals with this kind of thing is not to worry. :eek:


20,964 Posts

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis.

Had this happened to me, (not yet, knock on wood), I would report this incident to my manager and the employee health nurse, following needlestick protocols in the hospital.

you are at VERY how risk of any kind of infection....very low. but it is an incident you need to report for health reasons as well as safety.........procedures are always called into question and reviewed when needlesticks occur; even clean ones.

I am so sorry about this----how stressed you have been but I feel you will be JUST fine. Just follow needlestick protocols to the letter and what-not so you are covered and so is the unit.

I know what you mean about close quarters; it is tough. You have to learn to be very assertive and ask people to back off when doing things involving safety such as injections. Usually just explaining why in a polite but firm tone is enough to get well-meaning family and friends to back off a bit.

Take care and try not to stress out about this. Let us know how you are doing, ok????


208 Posts

I completely agree with every word SmilingBlueEyes said.

Try not to stress out over it too much, go ahead and get tested and all that stuff, and then turn it into a learning experience where you learn to be politely assertive. I know it can be tough to speak up to a Dad who is bonding, but it only takes a few seconds to give a shot... he should be very willing to comply... especially if you let him know you need a little bit of room to give the shot so you can do your best and make it easiest on his new baby. I swear, the majority of Dads will often do anything if they think it's for the benefit of their baby.

Best wishes and do keep us posted on how things go for you. You've definately got cyberbuddies here who care about you!



6 Posts

Thank you both for your replies. I guess I have been feeling incompetent as well, that is why this is bothering me so much. I do appreciate your responses.


231 Posts

Oh, I feel for ya!!! Any needlestick clean needle or not is NOT fun!

I agree w/ the other posters 100% Don't let yourself feel too frustrated by the situation. Do the testing and the chance of infection is Increadably low. Remember us L/D nurses are lucky in one facet...MOST of our patients are prescreened for the bigiies like HIV, HBsAg, RPR...we do have a baseline data most of the time, unlike the cowboys in the ER, who deal with whatever walks in. SO use this as some reassurance. I had one a few years ago after I came up and scrubed a c/ was my own fault, the needle stick, but I did spend a good hour in ER while the vamps drew a hundred tubes of blood (Exageration I know, but I hate needles in ME), all was good and patient was more than understanding as she had her labs drawn, and was more concerned about me. Very nice...all worked out to be ok.

I hope the testing goes well, and for feeling "incompetent" I have been there too, just recently, and all I can say is hang in there!!! It will pass!!!!

Good luck to you:)


20,964 Posts

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis.

you are NOT incompetent. don't believe that. even the most competent among us could be a victim in the right circumstances. following universal precautions does not guarantee us a clear safe path, just improves the chances we will remain free of infection. like i said, report it and let the health /infection control nurse review the case. most important is you remain OK.....

please don't let this set you back or question yourself unduly. you sound way too conscientious to me to be "incompetent". take care now.


629 Posts

I would agree that the above is true.

But... if you are going to sleep anytime in the next six years... maybe sixty... You need to report this and get the standard labs drawn.

Once everything checks out, you'll rest alot easier.

Just remember that even the best can have this happen, and its NEVER your fault!

David Adams, ARNP


Specializes in ER, ICU, L&D, OR.

I know how you feel, 9 mos ago I got stuck during an IV start, Large bore needle, blood obviously in it, and it went into my forearm muscle. And The pt was pos for HIV and Hep C. ( months later I am still negative on my tests. Thank god.

Be sure you report it, it will work better for you


20,964 Posts

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis.

Wow well there you go, a response from an experienced RN.....

Tom I hope all continues to go well for you. Take care of yourself and let us know how you are doing.

It can happen to ANY of us.....

as you see.


347 Posts

Tom, did you get AZT as prohylaxis? or did you just pray? ;-)

Specializes in ER, ICU, L&D, OR.

got the triple cocktail for 2 months.AZT,Retovir,and I forgot the other already. Only side effect was a terrible case of gas for 2 months. Severe Flatus Amongus



6 Posts

I want to thank all of you for your comments. This has been a trying time to say the least. While I would not wish this to happen to anyone else, it helps to know I'm not the only one who has to think about this kind of thing.

By using the site, you agree with our Policies. X