Student Dissertation

Agency : Needle Sticks Injuries; Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs); Paramedics; Sharp Instruments

Objective : The objective of this study was to assess the knowledge, attitude and practices of EMTs on needle stick injuries of Telangana.

Background : Needle stick injuries (NSI) are wounds caused by sharps such as hypodermic needles, blood collection needles, IV cannulas or needles used to connect parts of IV delivery systems. The causes include various factors like type and design of needle, recapping activity, handling/transferring specimens, collision between health care providers or sharps, during clean-up, manipulating needles in patient line related work, passing/handling devices or failure to dispose of the needle in puncture proof containers. Paramedics are the most highly trained Emergency Management Technicians (EMTs), who are exposed to blood because they treat trauma victims and perform advanced life support procedures using needles and other sharp instruments. Paramedics often work under unpredictable, adverse conditions where patients may be experiencing uncontrolled bleeding or disorientation

Methodology : The study is descriptive in nature. Convenience sampling was used to collect data from 120 respondents from each district. A total of 120 respondents were interviewed in 10 districts (Adilabad, Hyederabad, Karimnagar, Khammam, Mehabbobnagar, Medak, Nalgonda, Nizambad and Warangal) of Telangana. The respondents were GVK-EMRI Emergency Management Technicians. A semi-structured questionnaire was used as a data collection tool and data was collected through face to face or telephonic interviews. The study was conducted during March-April 2015.

Findings : Among the 35 (29 per cent) victims of NSIs, 83 per cent of them were having more than three years of experience. Two-fifths (40 per cent) of the NSIs reported that it happened during disposal of needles followed by 37 per cent in the process insertion or removal. Efforts were made why respondents under reported, and the reasons were: not a significant injury, and don’t know where to report. About one-fourth of the EMTs do not practice of destroying needles. Few (13 per cent) respondents knew about the post exposure prophylaxis. Wearing gloves is one of the most important personal protective equipment while handling patient, sharp bi, and biohazard waste and 94 per cent of the EMTs practice. Ninety per cent of EMTS recap the needles and of those 74 per cent use both hands, which is not a recommended practice because there is a chance of NSI in moving ambulances.

Recommendations : Needle stick injuries (NSI) were reported by 29 percent of the staff. There area chances to under report the NSIs and therefore, orientation and practice sessions need to be conducted to make the EMTs aware of the potential risks.