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Why Are Med Students Being Stuck By Needles?

More then 80% of medical students have reported being stuck by a needle at some point during training.

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Photo: Sara Anderson (flickr)

Doctors-in-training often get stuck by needles. More and more hospitals and medical schools want to know why their students are being stuck to help stop the problem.

Medical school is a bear. Med students have to endure long hours, little sleep, and tons of pressure.

And, getting stuck by needles.

Getting Stuck

According to one study, med students on track to become surgeons get stuck often. Of the nearly 700 med school graduates studied, more than eighty percent reported having been stuck by a needle at some point during their training.

And nearly half didn’t bother to report the injury, or didn’t feel the need.

Are Needles A Big Deal?

Well, so what? Doctors in training handle a lot of needles, whether for giving shots or sewing up surgical wounds.

So maybe an occasional needle stick simply comes with the territory.

A Dangerous Problem

Maybe, but it can also be dangerous.

Getting stuck with a needle used on a patient with HIV or some other contagious disease is obviously a problem. And the fact that so many medical students are apparently getting stuck on a regular basis could mean that medical schools aren’t doing enough to train students how to properly handle needles.

Why Is It Not Reported?

As for why most students don’t report needle stick injuries–that may have to do with the macho culture of medical training.

Reporting mistakes–especially small, self inflicted ones–is not encouraged. Plus, many med students simply don’t have the time to go through the often lengthy process of reporting an injury.

But reporting needle stick injuries should be encouraged, according to the study. Because the more hospitals and medical schools know about how and why students are getting stuck by needles, the better able they’ll be to address the problem.

After all, most people don’t like getting stuck with needles. And doctors are no exception.

Read More: Medical Student Needlestick Injuries (KevinMD.com)

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