Nursing is among the most noble, and yet most dangerous professions. Each year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that over 35,000 nurses are injured while caring for patients. Injuries range from back injuries to needle sticks. These injuries impact their ability to perform their jobs and care for the patients they are responsible for.
A recent study conducted by the Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and Metro Health Medical Center determined that the leading causes of contamination related injuries were inadequate training and improper procedures. The study determined that an average of 46% of health care workers exposed themselves to contamination while removing protective gowns and gloves designed to prevent the spread of pathogens.
“Unsurprisingly, this study showed that failing to adhere to protocols resulted in a 70% contamination rate. What’s more concerning is that even when proper procedures were strictly adhered to, health care professionals experienced a 30% contamination rate,” remarked Chicago workers’ compensation attorney Neal B. Strom.
In light of the study’s findings, it’s clear that the protocols used within hospitals are inadequate for protecting healthcare workers and that changes must be made in order to provide effective protection against blood borne pathogens such as HIV, hepatitis, and other diseases that can be easily transmitted within a healthcare setting.
“Infection control is of paramount importance within the healthcare setting. Clearly, current protocols are not effective at reducing the level of risk healthcare workers face every day. Without improved training and amended procedures, nurses will be needlessly exposed to deadly pathogens and risk becoming patients themselves,” lamented Chicago workers’ compensation attorney Neal B. Strom.
The authors of the study have concluded that improved training, improved protective gear, and continual reinforcement of proper procedure are the keys to reducing occupational risk within the nursing profession. Indeed, this study mirrors similar studies that have reached the same conclusions and it is hoped that healthcare facilities will take note of these findings and proceed accordingly in order to protect their nursing personnel.