Factors Contributing to Needle Prick Injuries among Nursing Students of a Medical University in South Africa: A Quantitative Survey

By Lindiwe I. Zungu.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Globally, it is estimated that about 3 million healthcare workers experience needle prick injuries (NPI)which predispose them to blood-borne pathogens. Nursing students are also at risk of such injuries during clinical practice. The study aimed to identify and describe factors that contribut to NPI among the nursing students from a medical university in South Africa. A cross-sectional quantitative survey was conducted using a pre-tested questionnaire. Factors studied included those related to nursing procedures, peronal factors, equipment, competency and institutional factors. Respondents were expected to rate the level of risk associated with each factor described. A total of 96 respondents participated, with average age of 23.4 years, minimum being 18 and maximum of 35 years. Females constituted 80.2 % of the sample compared to 19.8% for males. 80 (83%) respondents rated needle recapping and cleaning of sharps instruments contaminated with blood as of extremely high risk to the occurrence of NPI. The majority rated the disposal of used needles as of a high risk to NPI. Under personal factors, negligence and ignorance were rated as high risk factors by 75% and 73% of the respondents respectively. Fatigue and anxiety were also rated as carrying a high risk of NPI as respectively declared by 39% and 72% of the respondents. 73% of the participants rated the lack of appropriate equipments and 70% rated the poor quality of gloves as contributory factors to NPI. Non-adherence to universla procedures was rated by most students (58%)as significantly related to the occurrence of NPI (p=0.005). The findings of this study pointed out the various factors that contribute to needle prick injuries among nursing students. It also highlighted the fact that the risk of acquiring blood borne infections through needle prick injuries is alarming and adoption of universal precautions as essential measures is crucial in preventing and educating nursing students about the risk of such injuries.

Keywords: Factors, Needle Prick Injuries(NPI), Medical University, Nursing Students, South Africa

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp.25-30. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 559.081KB).

Dr. Lindiwe I. Zungu

Lecturer, School of Public Health, Department of Environmental-Occupational Health, University of Limpopo (Medunsa Campus), Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa

Dr. Zungu holds a PhD in occupational health from the University of Zululand in South Africa. She is an occupational health care professional with over 12 years experience and she worked at several organizations (private sectors) as an occupational health specialist. She has also received advanced training from the University of Michigan in program planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation from an occupational Health Management perspective. She is currently lecturing post-graduate students in the school of Public Health at the University of Limpopo (Medunsa campus) and has also lectured community health for undergraduate nursing students at the same institution. She has published health-related abstracts and papers in scientific journals and has presented numerous scientific papers and lectures at national and international conferences. She also offers consultancy services and has facilitated a number of problem-oriented workshops for initial and continuing education in occupational health and safety and healthcare management. She is also a facilitator for organizational psychology and health sciences research for post-graduate nursing students registered at North-West University and is an external examiner for the University of Venda (MPH Program). Her research interests are wellness and safety promotion in the workplace and HIV/AIDS management in the workplace.


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