Q&A: Syringe re-use

I get questions from colleagues on social networks, while I don’t post all of the questions , there are times when I do post for learning purposes. Here’s one on “syringe re-use”.

Q: It boggles my mind, how someone highly trained, a nurse, can use a single use syringe  over and over and sometimes on multiple patients. Why?

A:  I got very concerned when I read this question and while I believe no nurse will “deliberately” harm a patient, unfortunately, there are nurses who should know better but fall into this poor practice for one reason or another. I  have witnessed some nurses “unknowingly” re-use a syringe and become embarrassed once the poor practice is brought to their attention.  Some nurses say they are told to do so by management  to be “cost-effective”. This is absolutely unacceptable and the nurses should know better and put patient safety first. There is an increasing number of lawsuits related to syringe re-use involving nurses.

There is no excuse. Nurses should know but have to be reminded that “single use” is really “single use”. The CDC has launched a campaign called “One and Only” to raise awareness among patients and healthcare providers about safe injection practices. The campaign aims to eradicate outbreaks resulting from unsafe injection practices.  For more information on this campaign, go to their website  – http://www.oneandonlycampaign.org.

Here’s a video on Safe Injection Practices (from the oneandonlycampaign) , I think all nurses should view, regardless of how long we have been practicing.