As we’ve known for a long time, the demand for nurses is only going to increase. We know that there are more Americans over the age of 65 today than any other time in U.S. history. Experts have also estimated that by 2030, there will be 70 million people over the age of 65.
With what is in store for America’s nurses, it’s only right that they receive as many protections as possible.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that hospitals are one of the most hazardous places to work in the U.S. Some of the leading causes of injuries come from lifting patients. Another common injury comes from handling sharp objects.
The medical industry has worked together to come up with two ways to reduce accidental sharps injuries.
Blunt-tip suture needles
According to the American College of Surgeons 2016 statement on sharps safety, blunt-tip suture needles are highly effective in reducing accidental injury. The statement reads, “Recently published studies show that using blunt-tip suture needles reduces the risk of needlestick injuries from suture needles by 69 percent.”
The added bonus of using the blunt-tip suture needles is that, although they cost approximately 70 cents more per needle, the new engineering may result in easier suturing for the physician.
Another way that the medical industry is working together to reduce sharps injuries is the establishment of neutral zones. Many operating rooms now have a designated neutral zone where the surgical team places the sharp object before it is picked up by the operator. While the data still lacks robustness, it appears that employing neutral zones will decrease the number of needle sticks, or at worst, have no impact.
Improving job safety for nurses should be a top priority for everyone in the U.S., especially when you consider the significant role that they will play in the future of U.S. healthcare.