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How to Encourage Staff to Realise NSI Risks

October 10, 2014

Healthcare professionals know that needlestick injuries are a major concern, however, there are still some staff members that might be blase about the topic. For these workers it's crucial that you raise awareness about the dangers of needlestick injuries, bloodborne pathogens and infections, and the impact this could have on their career and health long term.

This is important for a number of reasons. One factor is that people are far more likely to obey protocol and carry out preventative safety measures if they are made aware of the dangers and potential consequences for themselves and their colleagues. However, it's also vital that staff are reminded about these hazards at regular intervals during their career or time with a specific healthcare organisation.

This means that delivering awareness-raising measures should be made at appropriate, regular intervals. This may seem tedious but will help ensure that everyone in the hospital is working towards the same common goal and will work alongside each other to achieve this.

For some healthcare workers, they may not have been aware of needlestick safety when they were first qualified, meaning that it could seem unnecessary or foreign to them. However, newer staff members are still at risk of falling below the required standard as research has shown them to be very impressionable at at the highest danger of suffering a needlestick injury. It's important that any strategy to raise awareness targets both of these groups of hospital workers throughout their career.

Training & Education
Training and education is an important tool for any healthcare organisation of any size that is trying to raise awareness of needlestick injuries. This may seem like a logistical nightmare but it's possible to involve third parties to take the pressure away from your own workforce, though it is important to vet the information being delivered unless it is the industry standard. These sessions can also be run across a number of days to try and strike the right balance between making it worthwhile - financially and in terms of productivity - but not overcrowding so that people feel they are unable to contribute.

Leading by Example
Uniformity is important when introducing any new practice or trying to reinforce a previous update in legislation. This is especially important when running sessions with newly-qualified doctors, nurses and healthcare workers as they are more susceptible to peer pressure and likely to imitate whatever they see others doing. This means that ensuring that all members of staff - especially those of managerial positions or highly ranked in the hospital - are complying with the latest updates and schemes. 

If the organisation is large enough to have separate departments and teams, you can best achieve this by delegating this responsibility to team leaders and heads of departments. They are better positioned to encourage and engage their staff on a personal level, as well as being on the floor to see when people are and are not carrying out the right protocol.

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