What is a Needle Stick Injury


A needle-stick injury (NSI) occurs when a needle or other sharp object (e.g. blade) which has a patient’s blood on it accidentally cuts someone else’s skin.  (The term “sharps injuries” is often used interchangeably with NSI’s.)  While the immediate impact of an NSI may seem trivial, its implications can be very serious indeed.  The main risk posed by NSIs from hypodermic sharps is exposure to blood borne viruses (BBV’s).  Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV are the ones that get the most coverage, but many more diseases can be spread through NSIs. (See - Diseases Transmitted by Needle-stick Injury).

In 2010 The American Nurses Association issued a fact sheet that gives the who, where, when and how of NSIs. Hypodermic syringes account for more NSI’s than any other medical device (about 40% of the total)