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Health SA Gesondheid (Online)

On-line version ISSN 2071-9736
Print version ISSN 1025-9848

Abstract

SMALL, Louis; PRETORIUS, Louise; WALTERS, Althea  and  ACKERMAN, Maria J.. A surveillance of needle-stick injuries amongst student nurses at the University of Namibia. Health SA Gesondheid (Online) [online]. 2011, vol.16, n.1, pp.1-8. ISSN 2071-9736.

Needle-stick injuries have the potential to change a student nurse's life; yet they are dealt with covertly and many go unreported. This could create difficulties when evaluating a curriculum, because potential risk issues in nursing education might go undetected. In addition, needle-stick injuries are inherently preventable occupational health hazards. The fact that there has been, until now, no information available on the incidence of, and context in which needle-stick injuries occur amongst student nurses in Namibia, is of particular concern for nurse educators in that country. The purpose of this study was therefore to determine the incidence of needle-stick injuries and to describe the context of their occurrences. A framework known as Haddon's matrix made it possible to approach this survey from both an occupational and a nursing education perspective. The questionnaire was completed by 198 students and it was found that, during 2008 alone, 17% of student nurses sustained needle-stick injuries, but only 55% of these reported it. In addition, in 55% of the occasions on which the student nurses were injured, they were not accompanied by a registered nurse. The recommendations made are based on the three phases of Haddon's matrix, namely pre-injury, injury and post-injury phases. These recommendations focussed on student accompaniment by registered nurses, the completion of reflective exercises, sensitisation sessions before placement in clinical areas, as well as the utilisation of independent student counsellors.

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