Non-hospital based registered nurses and the risk of bloodborne pathogen exposure

Robyn R.M. Gershon, Kristine A. Qureshi, Monika Pogorzelska, Jonathan Rosen, Kristine M. Gebbie, Paul W. Brandt-Rauf, Martin F. Sherman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to assess the risk of blood and body fluid exposure among non-hospital based registered nurses (RNs) employed in New York State. The study population was mainly unionized public sector workers, employed in state institutions. A self-administered questionnaire was completed by a random stratified sample of members of the New York State Nurses Association and registered nurse members of the New York State Public Employees Federation. Results were reviewed by participatory action research (PAR) teams to identify opportunities for improvement. Nine percent of respondents reported at least one needlestick injury in the 12-month period prior to the study. The percutaneous injury (PI) rate was 13.8 per 100 person years. Underreporting was common; 49% of all PIs were never formally reported and 70% never received any post-exposure care. Primary reasons for not reporting included: time constraints, fear, and lack of information on reporting. Significant correlates of needlestick injuries included tenure, patient load, hours worked, lack of compliance with standard precautions, handling needles and other sharps, poor safety climate, and inadequate training and availability of safety devices (p<0.05). PAR teams identified several risk reduction strategies, with an emphasis on safety devices. Non-hospital based RNs are at risk for bloodborne exposure at rates comparable to hospital based RNs; underreporting is an important obstacle to infection prevention, and primary and secondary risk management strategies appeared to be poorly implemented. Intervention research is warranted to evaluate improved risk reduction practices tailored to this population of RNs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)695-704
Number of pages10
JournalIndustrial Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2007


  • Bloodborne pathogens
  • Needlesticks
  • Non-hospital
  • Nurses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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