Nurses Risk Exposure to Chemo Drugs
The researchers surveyed 1,339 oncology nurses working in Michigan. Results showed that nurses who were accidentally exposed to chemotherapy drugs were more likely to report their workplace had limited staffing and resources than those were not exposed, the study found.
According to the lead author of the study, Christopher Friese, RN, PhD, assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Nursing, “Any unintentional exposure to the skin or eyes could be just as dangerous as a needle stick,” said Dr Friese. “We have minimised needle stick incidents so that they are rare events that elicit a robust response from administrators. But we don’t have that with chemotherapy exposure.
“This research shows that paying attention to the workload, the health of an organisation, and the quality of working conditions pays off. It’s not just about job satisfaction, it’s likely to lower the risk of these occupational hazards,” Friese said.
“If we ensure patient safety, we should also ensure employee safety by strictly adhering to the national safety guidelines and providing staff education on these guidelines.”
Accidental exposure to chemotherapy drugs can affect the nervous system, impair the reproductive system and bring an increased risk of developing blood cancers in the future, the researchers said.
The study was published online on Aug. 16 in the journal BMJ Quality and Safety. The authors conclude: “Ensuring adequate staffing and resources and adherence to recognised practice standards may protect oncology nurses from harm.”
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