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.