One needle, one syringe, only one time? A survey of physician and nurse knowledge, attitudes, and practices around injection safety

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Abstract

Background:

To inform development, targeting, and penetration of materials from a national injection safety campaign, an evaluation was conducted to assess provider knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to unsafe injection practices.

Methods:

A panel of physicians (n = 370) and nurses (n = 320) were recruited from 8 states to complete an online survey. Questions, using 5-point Likert and Spector scales, addressed acceptability and frequency of unsafe practices (eg, reuse of a syringe on >1 patient). Results were stratified to identify differences among physician specialties and nurse practice locations.

Results:

Unsafe injection practices were reported by both physicians and nurses across all surveyed physician specialties and nurse practice locations. Twelve percent (12.4%) of physicians and 3% of nurses indicated reuse of syringes for >1 patient occurs in their workplace; nearly 5% of physicians indicated this practice usually or always occurs. A higher proportion of oncologists reported unsafe practices occurring in their workplace.

Conclusions:

There is a dangerous minority of providers violating basic standards of care; practice patterns may vary by provider group and specialty. More research is needed to understand how best to identify providers placing patients at risk of infection and modify their behaviors.

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