Saw a needle on the floor...


This situation was almost a year ago during my first rotation, but is still haunting me and I'm not really sure what I should've done.

I'm in nursing school on a general med-surg floor. I'm transferring a patient from a chair to her bed. The patient's niece was in the room and was watching/talking to me/giving instructions to the patient. I looked down, and I see an uncapped needle top. Not connected to a syringe. Just a little pink hub and the needle. I don't remember if the patient was on IV therapy, but I know I didn't watch a nurse or administer the patient anything involving a needle.

I froze. I didn't want to freak out, I didn't want to stop in the middle of a patient transfer, and it was far enough away for the patient. (It was in front of the bed and the patient was being transferred from the side.) I finished transferring the patient, looked down again, and it.... was gone. I know I sound crazy, right? I assume I must've kicked it or something when I was walking around. I was planning on calmly telling my instructor or the nurse once the patient was safe in bed, but then I did not want to tell my instructor and search the room for something that I couldn't even prove would be there.

I know that I should have told someone. I still feel terrible about it. But what would I do if I didn't find it? How much trouble can a hospital get in for having an open needle on the floor?!

More importantly.. if the situation happens again, let's cross our fingers it DOESN'T, am I safe to pick up the needle from the connection port? Should I alert a nurse or inform a patient of what I found? As a nurse, what is the protocol for a situation like this? I felt completely overwhelmed and worried and like there was no right answer. Any feedback would be appreciated.

Specializes in critical care, ER,ICU, CVSURG, CCU.

Ok it was almost a year ago, you and your patient are safe.

i would have kept notice where the potential hazard was, and safely completed my patient activity with avoidance of the potential hazard...

after my my patient was in a secure position, with appropriate protective gear, (ie: probably exam gloves on).....

i would safely retrieve, the hazard, as in picking up needle by hub with gloved hand, and dis guarding it in appropriate biohazard sharps keeping notice of the orientation of the potential hazard ( needle on floor), and my patient activity, I would not have lost " site of it"

then, remove gloves and washed my hands...

best wishes


832 Posts

Finding a needle on the floor is nothing to get worked up over. Being unable to locate a needle that you might have stepped over is something that should cause you concern momentarily. But rational problem solving skills will lead you to the conclusion that this isn't something to be traumatized over. You likely kicked it under the bed unintentionally if you could not locate it on the floor or stuck underneath your shoe.

In either case, there are policies which you can follow which will guide you to what keeps both you and your patient safe.

You are in some sort of care facility or hospital where things are a lot more controlled than if you were out in public. In public, you don't get any warning of who has a communicable disease or whether or not there are needles littered across the beach you might be walking on (or park that your kid will be playing at). You are much better protected in this profession than you are if you were out in public.

Rational problem solving approach. This isn't a big deal.

ComeTogether, LPN

1 Article; 2,167 Posts

Specializes in Keeping my head above water. Has 8 years experience.

I would just put on a glove, carefully pick it up with the plastic side and put it in the sharps container.