Exploring the psychological effects of sharps injuries sustained by healthcare workers
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Exploring the psychological effects of sharps injuries sustained by healthcare workers

Kevin Hambridge Lecturer in adult nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, England
Ruth Endacott Honorary professor in clinical nursing (critical care), School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, England
Andrew Nichols Lecturer in nursing studies, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To understand the psychological effects of sharps injuries on healthcare workers, including nurses

  • To be aware of the latest evidence of the various psychological effects of sharps injuries on healthcare workers and their families

  • To recognise the need for follow-up care and support for healthcare workers following a sharps injury

Much of the research into sharps injuries sustained by healthcare workers focuses on prevalence and incidence and to a lesser extent the financial implications of such injuries. An under-researched area is the psychological effects of such injuries. This article reports the findings of a narrative literature review that aimed to synthesise the evidence on this subject. Electronic databases and the grey literature were searched with no date limits set and 27 articles were included in the review. Findings suggested that healthcare workers may experience a range of psychological issues following a sharps injury, including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression. There was also evidence to suggest that the necessary psychological follow-up care is often inadequate, so improvements are required in this area. Further research is necessary to enhance understanding of the psychological effects of sharps injuries on healthcare workers and to ensure they receive appropriate support.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2022.e11785

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

@KevinHambridge

Correspondence

kevin.hambridge@plymouth.ac.uk

Conflict of interest

None declared

Hambridge K, Endacott R, Nichols A (2022) Exploring the psychological effects of sharps injuries sustained by healthcare workers. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2022.e11785

Published online: 28 February 2022

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