Document Type : Research Article
Background: Healthcare workers are highly prone to contract serious blood-borne infections as common occupational hazard. These infections are most commonly acquired through needlestick (percutaneous) injuries (NSI), nurses being most commonly affected staff category.
Objectives: To assess knowledge, attitude and practices amongst nursing staff regarding needlestick injuries.
Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 164 nurses posted in different areas of a premier tertiary care hospital were subjected to a semi-structured, self-administered questionnaire capturing data regarding awareness, perceptions and practices vis-à-vis NSI amongst participants.
Results: 42.1% nurses encountered NSI during their career, 24.6% suffering more than twice. Most common site of injury was finger (85.3%). 80% and 65% were aware of procedures to be followed post-exposure and diseases spread by NSIs respectively. 84.05% of those who suffered did also enquire about patient’s disease history. 58.18% did not report injury. Amongst those not having reported, 20.4% were unaware of procedure, 6.1% felt landing into administrative troubles upon reporting, 6.1% didn’t feel important to report and 14.3% did not report considering it a minor prick. Only 88.4% nurses took Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP). Only 13.1% completed the recommended PEP course. 50.6% and 34.1% admitted not wearing gloves always and practising recapping respectively. 34.6%, 23.1%, 17.9% and 9.0% incidences were observed during administration of injections, discarding needles, recapping and clean-up respectively.
Conclusion: A high incidence of NSIs with high rate of non-reporting, non-compliance to universal precautions and indifferent attitude towards PEP despite adequate knowledge substantially indicates need of a continuous educational-cum-training programme to be in place.