Needlestick and other sharps-related injuries are largely preventable with proper education, training, and the use of safety-engineered devices. In 2009, a review of clinical practice was completed at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. The review revealed that despite needle-free legislation, numerous years of education on the dangers of using needles, and the availability and importance of using safety devices, nurses and physicians continued to use needles when accessing intravenous tubing to administer medication.
During 2010, a luer-activated intravenous administration system was introduced to replace the current split-septum intravenous administration system. Implementation of the luer-activated system was expected to decrease needlestick injuries, positively affect nursing practice, and demonstrate a commitment to a safe working environment. Reported needlestick injuries were reviewed and analysed pre- and post-implementation and a survey on nurse perception of the new system and organizational safety was distributed.
Results showed that there was a 46% decrease in needlestick injuries post-implementation, along with 80% of nursing staff reporting that the new system had a positive influence on their nursing practice and belief that the organization was committed to providing a safe work environment.
The results of this study emphasize and support the replacement of needles with alternative needleless products to improve the safety of the work environment.