SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.16 issue1A closer look at racial differences in the reporting of self-assessed health status and related concepts in South AfricaYes, breast cancer related lymphoedema can be managed author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand



Related links

  • On index processCited by Google
  • On index processSimilars in Google


Health SA Gesondheid (Online)

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

Health SA Gesondheid (Online) vol.16 n.1 Cape Town  2011




A surveillance of needle-stick injuries amongst student nurses at the University of Namibia



Louis Small; Louise Pretorius; Althea Walters; Maria J. Ackerman

Department of Nursing, University of Namibia, Namibia





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.


Enige naaldprik-insident kan 'n groot omwenteling in 'n student-verpleegkundige se lewe te weeg bring. Ten spyte hiervan word sodanige insidente nie openlik hanteer nie, en dikwels word dit nie eers gerapporteer nie. Dit mag egter kurrikulering-evaluerings kompliseer want potensiële risiko-aspekte in verpleegonderwys mag dalk nie geidentifisser word nie. Naaldprik-ongelukke is in wese beroepsgesondheidsaspekte, wat inherent voorkombaar is. Dit was dan ook 'n bron van kommmer onder verpleegopvoeders in Namibië, aangesien geen inligting beskikbaar was oor die voorkoms en konteks van naaldprik-ongelukke onder student-verpleegkundiges in Namibië nie. Die doel van hierdie studie was dus on die voorkoms en konteks waarbinne naaldprik-ongelukke plaasvind te beskryf. Daar was reeds a raamwerk beskikbaar, naamlik die Haddon-matriks. Diè raamwerk het dit moontlik gemaak om die opname te benader vanuit sowel 'n beroepsgesondheids-perspektief as 'n verpleegopvoedkundige perspektief. Die vraelys is voltooi deur 198 studente en van die bevindings was dat gedurende 2008 alleen, 17% van die student-verpleegkundiges naaldprik-insidente gehad het, maar dat slegs 55% van die beseerdes dit aangemeld het. Daar is ook gevind dat in 55% van die gevalle, hulle nie deur 'n geregistreerde verpleegkundige vergesel was nie. Aanbevelings wat gemaak is, is gebaseer op die drie fases van die Haddon-matriks, naamlik die voor-beserings-fase, die beserings-fase en die na-beserings-fase. Die aanbevelings is gefokus op student-begeleiding, reflektiewe oefeninge, sensitiseringsessies voor die plasings in kliniese areas, asook ondersteuning van 'n onafhanklike berader.



“Full text available only in PDF format”




Bodkin, C. & Bruce, J., 2003, 'Health professionals' knowledge of prevention strategies and protocol following percutaneous injury', Curationis 26(4), 22-28.         [ Links ]

Burns, N. & Grove, S.K., 2005, The practice of nursing research: Conduct, critique and utilization, Elsevier Saunders, St Louis, MO.         [ Links ]

E-Facts, 2011, 'Risk assessment and needle stick injuries', viewed on 04 July 2011, from        [ Links ]

Engelkirk, P.G. & Burton, G.R.W., 2007, Burton's microbiology for the health sciences, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, PA.         [ Links ]

Leliopoulou, C., Waterman, H., & Chakrabarty, S., 1999, 'Nurses' Failure to appreciate the Risks of infection due to Needle Stick Accidents: A hospital based survey', Journal of Hospital Infections 42(1), 53-59.         [ Links ]

Meyer, S. & Van Niekerk, S., 2008, Nurse educator in practice, Juta, Cape Town.         [ Links ]

Polit, D.F. & Beck, C.T., 2004, Nursing research: principles and methods, 7th ed., Lippincot-Raven, Philadelphia.         [ Links ]

Nursing matters, 2011, 'ICN on Preventing Needlestick Injuries', viewed 17 May 2009 and 04 July 2011, from        [ Links ]

Trim, J.C., 2004, 'Raising awareness and reducing the risk of needle stick injuries', Nursing, viewed on 09 July 2009, from        [ Links ]

University of Minnesota, 2009, 'Needle stick injuries among health care workers', viewed on 09 July 2009, from        [ Links ]

University of Namibia, 2007, HIV and AIDS resource guide, Faculty of Medical and Health, University of Namibia, Windhoek.         [ Links ]

Uys, L.R. & Gwele, S., 2005, Curriculum development in nursing: Process and innovation, Routledge, New York.        [ Links ]

Wilburn, S.Q., 2004, 'Needlestick and sharps injury prevention', Online journal of issues in nursing 9(3), 1-13, viewed on 04 July 2011, from        [ Links ]

Ziady, L.E. & Small, N., 2004, Prevent and control infection, Juta, Cape Town.         [ Links ]



Louis Small
Private Bag 13301
Pioneerspark, Windhoek
South Africa

Received: 13 Oct. 2009
Accepted: 04 May 2011
Published: 10 Oct. 2011

Creative Commons License All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License