Weekly tip: Protect staff from miscarriage risk
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March 29, 2012
It's no surprise that highly toxic chemicals, found in chemotherapy drugs and sterilizing agents used to clean medical devices, can be harmful to those who don't take the proper precautions. What is surprising is that exposure to these chemicals continues to be an issue.
A study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology indicates that pregnant nurses who are exposed to these chemicals, as well as radiation from x-rays, have a greater risk for miscarriage. Nurse who are exposed to chemotherapy drugs are twice as likely to have a miscarriage in the first trimester, and nurses who are exposed to sterilizing chemicals are twice as likely to have a miscarriage in the second trimester.
From a training perspective, hospitals need to train nurses more diligently on appropriate protective measures, along with providing continuous reminders. Nursing shortages in healthcare mean that nurses have less time to stay up to date with current guidelines, so safety officers should maintain a dialogue with them and have an open-door policy for nurses to contact them regarding any safety concerns.
Training programs should also focus specifically on women who are pregnant or may become pregnant, especially if they will be handling chemotherapy drugs or sterilizing agents.
Find more tips at Hospital Safety Center.