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How to encourage activism in healthcare workers

September 12, 2015

Some hospitals may have hundreds or even thousands of healthcare workers and trying to implement sharps safety procedures can be challenging. With such a big and busy workforce, it can be difficult to ascertain whether a new procedure or practice has been taken on board.

However, with sharps safety it's essential that all healthcare workers are adhering to the latest guidance, including using safety devices where possible. This helps reduce the likelihood of needlestick injuries occurring. 

Training
Training is perhaps the most important part of sharps safety, and helping healthcare workers to protect themselves and others. Introducing safety devices to hospitals can be an effective way of reducing needlestick injuries. However, it's crucial that healthcare workers are trained in how to use them. 

Whether the medical procedure requires safety devices or needs more traditional instruments, it's important that nurses are trained to use and dispose of them. By ensuring that each healthcare worker knows what is expected of them under sharps safety guidance, it increases the likelihood that they will adhere to it.

It also boosts the chance that they will act as advocates for safer sharps use and encourage others to do the same. 

It's important that training continues throughout a person's career to ensure they are prepared for changes to legislation or new hospital-wide guidelines. Regular sessions will also help refresh healthcare workers so they are only working to the highest standards.

Encouragement
Ensuring that employees have the right level of encouragement and support is crucial when it comes to enforcing sharps safety practices. A key part of this is making sure that the right sort of people are recruited to managerial and team leader positions as it will be their responsibility, at a ground level, to ensure that each member of staff feels supported.

Good leaders will be able to make staff feel empowered. This increases the likelihood that they will report any incidents where they see standards falling short, which is especially important when implementing new practices or trying to tighten up sharps safety.

This is crucial when hospitals take on new or inexperienced healthcare workers, as they need to feel as though they have a safe environment in which they can report any problems they may be experiencing. It's especially important that they feel supported in sharps safety, so they can avoid making mistakes that could put them and those around them at an increased risk of suffering a needlestick injury and potentially spreading bloodborne pathogens.
 
Activism
By ensuring that healthcare workers feel able to speak out and challenge decisions and practices, hospitals can increase the likelihood that staff will care and want to make a difference. Most people enter the healthcare profession because they want to help people and ensure they are well looked after. With this passion, you can create a sharps safety culture where people want to make improvements wherever necessary.

This is the first steps towards encouraging and harvesting activism among a workforce. It is the best way of reducing the risk of needlestick injuries across a whole hospital. 

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