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J Can Dent Assoc. 2000 Nov;66(10):561.

A Survey of Final-Year Dental, Medical and Nursing Students: Occupational Injuries and Infection Control.

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Faculty of Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.


BACKGROUD: This study investigated nonsterile occupational injuries and infection control practices reported by final-year dental, medical and nursing undergraduates. Data from an anonymous, self-administered questionnaire were analyzed using ANOVA and chi-square tests. Nonsterile occupational injuries in the previous year were reported by 82% of dental, 57% of medical and 27% of nursing respondents, including one hepatitis B virus (HBV) and one human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) exposure. Although students received appropriate management for known HIV and HBV exposure, 48% of dental, 77% of medical and 59% of nursing students reporting injuries also reported no postexposure follow-up. Dental students were more aware of postexposure protocols (p < 0.001) and also reported more frequent use of gloves (p < 0.05), masks (p < 0.001) and protective eyewear (p < 0.001) than other students. Students who reported 2-handed recapping of needles had twice the number of percutaneous injuries (mean = 1.9/year) than those who avoided recapping or recapped with one hand using a device or scoop technique (p < 0.05). All dental, and 99% and 95% of medical and nursing students, respectively, reported HBV immunization; however, 6% of dental students had inadequate response (i.e., titre of antibodies to HBV surface antigen [anti-HBs].10 mIU/mL) and 13% of dental, 24% of medical and 41% of nursing students did not know whether their postimmunization anti-HBs titre was adequate. The majority of students reported occupational injuries that increase risk of exposure to pathogens. Educational interventions are required to improve postexposure follow-up, handling of sharps, use of barriers and HBV postimmunization serology.

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