Blood -Borne Pathogens

Topics: Occupational safety and health, Blood-borne disease, Health care Pages: 5 (1425 words) Published: March 22, 2013
Running head: Blood-borne Pathogens in the Nursing Profession

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Bloodborn Pathogens in the Nursing Profession

The nursing profession must be familiar with trends, practices and ideas that affect patients. Emphasis on safety trends has benefitted the nursing profession. One safety trend in particular is preventing blood-borne pathogens. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration defines blood borne pathogens as “infectious microorganisms in human blood that can cause disease in humans” (OSHA,) These pathogens include hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), along with many others. The transmission of blood borne pathogens is of great apprehension in health care because work acquired injuries, like needle sticks and other sharp-related injuries, may expose employees to blood-borne pathogens. Nurses, specifically, are at increased risk to blood-borne pathogens due to the duties defined within the nursing profession. This exposure negatively impacts the nurse, yet; also negative affects the interconnected systems. These systems include; but are not limited to; the healthcare consumer and public health. Studies show that nurses sustain the most needlestick injuries which could result in possible blood-borne pathogen exposure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 62 to 88 percent of sharps injuries can be prevented simply by using safer medical devices.

The following references provide information regarding possible solutions for bloodborne pathogens and needlestick hazards.

Literature Review
Discuss nursing lit
The American Nurses Association (ANA) urges immediate and ongoing research and evaluation of devices and equipment intended to reduce risk of injury from sharps and of personal protective equipment designed to reduce exposure. In order to reduce the risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens, ANA supports the consistent and strict use of universal precautions; the availability of proven safety measures; the standardization of methods to assure equipment is safe; and the continued evaluation and modification of work practices to assure optimum safety in the workplace. Include position statement from nursing organization

Discuss pros and cons

In order to reduce or eliminate the hazards of occupational exposure to blood-borne pathogens, an exposure control plan that utilizes a combination of engineering and work practice and personal protection equipment must be implemented. This plan must also include training, surveillance, hepatitis B vaccinations, among other provisions. “ENGINEERING CONTROLS are the first and best line of defense for worker protection, and are clearly the most important mechanisms for reducing risks of sharps injuries. The technology exists in most hazardous work situations to control the risks of injuries from hazardous machinery or instruments. However, in health care, technological developments have not been emphasized in the past because the risks were not perceived as being life-threatening. With the increased risk of serious injury and death from occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens in health care settings, ANA urges increased research and development in this area. WORK PRACTICE CONTROLS (WPC) are a second line of defense and include modifications in work practices to reduce risks. Work practice controls are sometimes of limited usefulness in the health care environment due to lack of control over many patient care situations where there is an urgent or emergent situation that requires immediate response by...
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