Predictors of Adherence to Safe Handling Practices for Antineoplastic Drugs: A Survey of Hospital Nurses

A new article from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
(NIOSH) looks at predictors of adherence to recommended safe handling practices
for administration of antineoplastic drugs (ADs). This study analyzed survey
responses from nurses employed by hospitals and found that training,
familiarity with safe handling guidelines, and availability of engineering
controls and personal protective equipment (PPE) were associated with better
adherence to safe handling practices and fewer reported spills of ADs. The
paper will be published in the March issue of the Journal of Occupational and
Environmental Hygiene and is currently available as an e-pub.

Specific findings of the study included the following:

  • Familiarity with safe handling guidelines and training in safe handling practices were associated with consistent use of more PPE items.

  • Availability of PPE was associated with more PPE use and fewer reported spills of ADs.

  • Use of closed system drug-transfer devices and luer-lock fittings was associated with fewer spills.

  • Nurses who administered ADs more frequently reported more spills and reported performing more activities with potential for environmental contamination (e.g. touching bed controls, touching door knobs, using phones while wearing gloves previously used to administer ADs).

  • Respondents who felt they had adequate time to take safety precautions reported fewer spills.

Commitment from all levels of healthcare organizations is essential to
adequately protect workers from ADs, many of which are recognized carcinogens
with no safe level of exposure. Adherence to best practices for safe
administration of ADs requires the efforts of employers (providing engineering
controls, PPE, training in safe administration, and adequate time for workers
to adhere to safe practices) and healthcare workers (seeking out training,
consistently following facility procedures, and reporting safety concerns).

More information - Source: The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)