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Ann Ig. 2018 Sep-Oct;30(5 Supple 2):99-110. doi: 10.7416/ai.2018.2254.

A multicentre study on epidemiology and prevention of needle stick injuries among students of nursing schools.

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Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Italy.
Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences and Advanced Technologies 'GF Ingrassia', University of Catania, Italy.
Department of Public Health, Experimental and Forensic Medicine, University of Pavia, Italy.
Department of Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Sciences, Hygiene and Public Health Unit, University of Padua, Italy.
Department of Biomedical Sciences and Public Health, Marche Polithecnical University, Ancona, Italy.
Department of Biomedical Science and Human Oncology, University of Bari "Aldo Moro", Bari, Italy.
Regional Hospital, Aosta, Italy.
Department of Public Health, University "Federico II" of Naples, Italy.
Department of Medicine and Health Sciences "Vincenzo Tiberio", University of Molise, Campobasso, Italy.
Hospital Santa Lucia, IRCCS, Rome, Italy.
Catholic University "Our Lady of Good Counsel", Tirana-Elbasan, Albania.
Department of Biomedical and Dental Sciences and Morphological Imaging, University of Messina, Italy.



Among the health professions with a long period of training, the students of the Nursing Bachelor's Degree are the most exposed to biological risk resulting from accidents, in particular with needles and cutting edges. The aim of the study was to estimate the frequency and the circumstances for the occurrence of needle stick injuries, as a knowledge base for targeted prevention interventions.


The study was carried out between May and July 2017 in 11 Universities in Italy and 1 in Albania (associated with the "Tor Vergata" University of Rome). An anonymous semi-structured questionnaire was proposed to 1st (second semester), 2nd and 3rd year students of Nursing Bachelor's Degree.


A total of 2742 questionnaires were collected. The average age of participants was 22.9 years (median 22, range 19-60 years), 73% of whom were females. A total of 381 injuries were reported. Three hundred and sixteen students (11.8%) underwent at least 1 injury (12.7% among females, 9.7% among males); 41 students declared two or more injuries; four students did not report the number of injuries occurred. The first injury occurred, as an average, 17 days after the start of the internship (median 15 days) and, in 25% of the cases, during the first 9 days. The highest percentage of accidents occurred during the first internship (25.3% of the total) and decreased with the progress of the training path. The injuries occurred in 38% of cases during drug preparation, 24% when disposing of sharp devices, 15% while re-capping needles, 13% during blood sampling and 10% in other circumstances. In 51.2% of cases, the needle was not sterile. Among the nursing students who suffered a needle stick injury, 58.1% declared that they had performed the post-exposure prophylaxis. 96% of students stated to be vaccinated against Hepatitis B virus. Amongst the students who had their serological status checked (74%), 18% stated the antibody titre was not protective. 49.8% of students answered to have been trained in advance on the correct procedures to avoid needle stick and cutting edges injuries in each clinical ward attended, 41.2% referred that this occurred only in some wards and 10% in no ward at all.


The results of this study show a high percentage of needle stick injuries in students of the Nursing Bachelor's Degree. Therefore, there is a need for careful reflection on the most effective methods of targeted training acquisition of knowledge, skills and behavioural models useful for the exercise of the profession.


Biological risk; Education; Internship; Needle stick injuries; Training


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