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J Prof Nurs. 2006 Nov-Dec;22(6):359-66.

Epidemiology of needlestick and sharps injuries among professional Korean nurses.

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  • 1International Center for Research Promotion and Informatics, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Tama-Ku, Kawasaki, Japan. <>


Although needlestick and sharps injuries (NSI) are known to affect professional nurses at high rates, most studies depend on officially reported data and few have been undertaken in Korea. Thus, we surveyed a large cross-section of nurses from a hospital in Gangneung (response rate, 97.9%). Four hundred thirty-two incidents of NSI were reported by 263 nurses (79.7%) in the previous 12-month period (average, 1.31 events/nurse/year). Syringe needles were the most common devices, affecting 67.3% and comprising 52% of all NSI events. Sixty percent of all NSI events involved contaminated devices. Opening an ampoule or vial was the most common cause (affecting 35.2% of all nurses and accounting for 15.9% of all NSI events). Logistic regression indicated that nurses working in "other" departments were 5.4 times more likely to suffer any NSI (odds ratio [OR] = 5.4; 95% confidence interval [95% CI] = 2.0-15.2; P < .05) and 4.7 times more likely to incur a syringe-needle injury than nurses in intensive care units or inpatient departments (OR = 4.7; 95% CI = 2.0-11.6; P < .05). Younger-than-average nurses (< 27 years) were 4.5 times more likely to suffer NSI (OR = 4.5; 95% CI = 1.7-12.6; P < .05) and 3.1 times more likely to incur a syringe-needle injury (OR = 3.1; 95% CI = 1.4-7.0; P < .05). Working mixed shifts also increased the risk of any NSI (OR = 4.0; 95% CI = 1.7-10.4; P < .05) or syringe-needle NSI (OR = 4.4; 95% CI = 2.0-10.1; P < .05). Overall, our study suggests that NSI are common among Korean hospital nurses and represent a significant occupational burden for this large Asian demographic. Intervention and preventive strategies to help reduce their NSI exposures are urgently required in this country.

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