45.2% of trainee dermatologists fail to report needlestick injuries

April 29, 2014

A new study has found that many trainee dermatologists are failing to report needlestick injuries and other errors they witness. In the campaign of needlestick prevention, it is well publicised that a lack of awareness and failure to report incidents are at the heart of the problem.

The research, published in JAMA Dermatology, found that 45. 2 per cent of dermatology residents have failed to report a needlestick injury during procedures. While other errors and bad practice were also being observed, suggesting that the trainee medical staff are not receiving comprehensive education, or are unaware of the risks of abusing protocol.

It found that 82.8 per cent of residents had cut and pasted patient history into a medical record, rather than confirming the information themselves, while 96.7 per cent reported mislabelling body parts during an examination or biopsy.

The research also found that the vast majority of trainee dermatologists (78.3 per cent) have seen attending physicians deliberately disregard the necessary safety protocol.

However, the research highlighted the factors that could be influencing the behaviour of trainees, with more than half (59.7 per cent) of residents working with a physician that intimidates them. This could be having an impact on the number of under-qualified medical staff that are willing to report needlestick incidents and other errors they have witnessed.

To compile the study, researchers surveyed 142 dermatology residents from 44 medical programs across the US and Canada. The trainees were then asked to complete a survey and also attended an educational session on patient safety sponsored by the American Academy of Dermatology.

Speaking to Reuters Health, senior author of the study Dr Erik Stratman said the study isn't all "doom and gloom" and that part of modern medicine is finding the areas that need to be improved and "working on those areas to get better".

Dr Stratman added that the reasons behind why healthcare workers weren't reporting the incidents was the "most alarming" part of the study. He said that programs need to look at the study and "improve their local culture of safety".

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