Assessing the epidemiology of sharps injuries amongst nursing students: a case of selected national health training centres.

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Namibia University of Science and Technology


Sharps Injuries (SIs) are a major occupational health and safety issue facing health care professionals today. According to Shiao, McLaws, Huang and Guo (2002), nursing staff are at greatest risk, especially nursing students due to their limited clinical knowledge and lack of experience. Literature on sharps injuries amongst HCWs shows extensively varying numbers of 1.4 up to 9.5 per 100 HCWs per year worldwide (Elseviers, Arias-Guillen, Gorke & Arens, 2014). According to the National Health Training Centres (NHTCs) official website, the Enrolled Nurse/Midwifery Training program students are required to acquire theoretical and practical knowledge in the classroom set-up during the training period (National Health Training Centres [NHTCs], 2018). In addition, students are expected to complete practical learning attachments in hospitals where they are expected to perform invasive procedures that put them at risk of experiencing potentially infectious SIs. This study was conducted with the purpose of establishing the epidemiology of sharps injuries amongst the study population. The study adopted a cross-sectional study design using an anonymous structured self-administered questionnaire as a data collection tool within the framework of a survey procedure. The data were investigated and analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Science (SPSS) software, version 22. The study findings yield that 19.5% of respondents experienced a sharps injury during their training period. The study highlights that the most common reason for injury (6 out of 22 respondents) was the uncapping or recapping needles during injection of patients. This suggests that more emphasis should be accorded to the safety aspects around this procedure. Eighty one percent (18 out of 22) of injuries were self-inflicted while eighteen percent indicated that the needle stick injuries were caused by another person. The NHTCs nursing curriculum committee should revisit the course content on sharps safety, especially on the injection procedure which account for (50%) of SIs experienced by the study subjects. Emphasis should be placed on the correct use of protective clothing/devices. An evaluation should be done to that effect to ascertain competency.



Needle stick, Sharps injuries, Nursing students Namibia, National Health Training Centres, Occupational health safety


Ndjitaviua, G. (2020). Assessing the epidemiology of sharps injuries amongst nursing students: a case of selected national health training centres. (Unpublished master's thesis). Namibia University of Science and Technology, Windhoek.