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Encouraging awareness

September 16, 2014

Companies that operate within the healthcare sector know the importance of encouraging employees to be aware of their own role within the hospital. For many medical professionals, this includes taking responsibility for reducing their risk of the various hazards they are exposed to during their working day.

One of the most dangerous of these is needlestick injuries, which can have a significant and detrimental impact on doctors, nurses and other workers within the hospital or medical setting. However, it is also one of the most preventable hazards. With the introduction of safety devices, alongside comprehensive training and education, this risk can be significantly reduced for all healthcare professionals.

It is important that workers take responsibility for the individual measures they have to take in order to reduce this risk, and raising awareness of the dangers of needlestick injuries is one of the most effective ways of doing this. However, within large organisations, as is typical for those in the medical setting, it can be difficult to know how to achieve high levels of awareness throughout a company.

Encouraging awareness across an entire organisation can be difficult to achieve, but can be better accomplished by taking a number of approaches:

Education
The first and most important step of encouraging awareness within an organisation is to deliver training and education that is of a high standard. By giving workers up-to-date and accurate information, they are more likely to see the dangers that could be posed to them by needlestick injuries, which will in turn encourage higher levels of compliance. 

This education should be delivered at regular intervals to ensure information is current, as well as making sure all employees receive the same level of training and are working together for a common cause.

Identify high-risk areas
For many medical settings, the high-risk areas are the accident and emergency departments. It is staff that operate within these areas that will see the highest number of patients during the quickest amount of time, they are also more likely to see patients who are more likely to carry needles. These circumstances mean they are at the most risk of suffering a percutaneous injury. 

By determining the areas within a hospital or organisation that are at the highest risk, a company can better target and tailor education and training to the staff that will need it most on a regular basis. In these departments it may also be apt to have leaflets and information available for both patients and employees about the dangers of needlestick injuries.

Target key staff
Within an entire organisation there could be hundreds or thousands of employees and it would be impossible to target each individual on a daily basis to encourage and raise awareness of the various hazards. However, by determining the key members of staff, and who is most likely to influence other team members, it is possible to spread awareness throughout an entire medical setting.

This usually concerns heads of department or team leaders as they have managerial experience, but also have regular contact with members of staff that are at most at risk. Research has shown that people are more likely to comply with preventative measures if their peers are doing so, and targeting key staff members will encourage more people to follow protocol, as well as encouraging awareness.

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