• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of amjphAmerican Journal of Public Health Web SiteAmerican Public Health Association Web SiteSubmissionsSubscriptionsAbout Us
Am J Public Health. 1997 January; 87(1): 103–107.
PMCID: PMC1380773

Hospital nurses' occupational exposure to blood: prospective, retrospective, and institutional reports.


OBJECTIVES: This study examined nurses risk of exposure to blood resulting from injuries with needles and sharps, the methods of estimating those risks, and the factors affecting risks. METHODS: Nurses on 40 medical units in 20 hospitals in cities with a high incidence of AIDS were studied. Percutaneous injuries were documented for every shift during a 30-day period. These prospective reports were compared with retrospective and institutional reports. Factors affecting the likelihood of injuries were explored. RESULTS: Based on the prospective reports, the rate of injuries to staff nurses was 0.8 per nurse-year. Prospective and retrospective rates were similar, while institutional rates were significantly lower. Factors associated with increased injuries included recapping needles and temporary work assignments. Working in hospitals characterized by professional nurse practice models and taking precautions to avoid blood contact were associated with fewer injuries. CONCLUSIONS: Injuries from needlesticks are more common than institutional reports suggest and do not occur at random. Diminishing the frequency with which nurses recap needles, increasing precautions they take, reducing use of temporary nursing personnel, and implementing organizational changes may lower the odds of nurses being injured.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (1.3M), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Goldsmith MF. Even 'in perspective,' HIV specter haunts health care workers most. JAMA. 1990 May 9;263(18):2413–2420. [PubMed]
  • Dworkin J, Albrecht G, Cooksey J. Concern about AIDS among hospital physicians, nurses and social workers. Soc Sci Med. 1991;33(3):239–248. [PubMed]
  • Gershon RR, Curbow B, Kelen G, Celantano D, Lears K, Vlahov D. Correlates of attitudes concerning human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome among hospital workers. Am J Infect Control. 1994 Oct;22(5):293–299. [PubMed]
  • Jagger J, Hunt EH, Brand-Elnaggar J, Pearson RD. Rates of needle-stick injury caused by various devices in a university hospital. N Engl J Med. 1988 Aug 4;319(5):284–288. [PubMed]
  • Davis GL. Hepatitis C virus infection among health care workers. JAMA. 1996 May 15;275(19):1474–1474. [PubMed]
  • Chamberland ME, Ciesielski CA, Howard RJ, Fry DE, Bell DM. Occupational risk of infection with human immunodeficiency virus. Surg Clin North Am. 1995 Dec;75(6):1057–1070. [PubMed]
  • Justice AC, Aiken LH, Smith HL, Turner BJ. The role of functional status in predicting inpatient mortality with AIDS: a comparison with current predictors. J Clin Epidemiol. 1996 Feb;49(2):193–201. [PubMed]
  • Aiken LH, Smith HL, Lake ET. Lower Medicare mortality among a set of hospitals known for good nursing care. Med Care. 1994 Aug;32(8):771–787. [PubMed]
  • Gravell EL. Survey wants to know: safety first? Mater Manag Health Care. 1995 Nov;4(11):48–50. [PubMed]

Articles from American Journal of Public Health are provided here courtesy of American Public Health Association


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • Cited in Books
    Cited in Books
    PubMed Central articles cited in books
  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...