How often do training residents experience needlestick and sharps injuries? 5 study findings

Medical residents in training face a myriad of difficulties on the job. Needlestick and sharps injuries are particularly painful ones. In an attempt to determine a pattern in these types of injuries among residents as they move through their postgraduate education, researchers pooled data reported to Youngstown, Ohio-based Mercy Health infection control departments from 2000 to 2014.

Here are five findings from the JAMA Internal Medicine study.

• Researchers did find a trend among the data: As might be expected due to increasing experience, the further postgraduate students went into their education, the less likely they were to experience an injury.
• Of 129 needlestick and sharps injuries reported, 67 occurred during the first year of postgraduate education, 37 occurred in the second year, 16 occurred in the third year, 7 in the fourth year and just 2 in the fifth year.
• Of the 67 needlestick and sharps injuries that occurred in postgraduate year one, 42 were within the first six months.
• The highest rates of injuries were among dental residents, followed by obstetrics and gynecology residents. Rates among surgery residents were also high, but were lower among transitional and internal medicine residents. Family medicine residents were least likely to be injured.
• The most prevalent instrument for injuries was the suture needle, followed by scalpels and blood gas syringes.

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