Medical students are mainly exposed to needle stick and sharp object injuries in the course of their clinical activities during studying. They are at high risk due to their undeveloped skills, restricted clinical experience, lack of knowledge and risk perception. The objectives of this study were to determine the prevalence of needle stick injuries of the fourth and final year medical students, and to estimate their knowledge about blood-borne pathogens disease transmission and standard precautions.
This cross-sectional study was conducted at the Faculty of Medicine, in February 2014. The students were invited to self-administer a questionnaire of 26 closed questions prepared for this study.
The questionnaire was filled in and returned by 637 students. The prevalence of needle sticks and sharp object injuries was 29.5%. Needle stick injuries were the most common type of accidents, more frequent among the fourth compared to the sixth year students (p=0.002). The majority of accidents occurred in patient rooms (53%) and the emergency department (15%). 54% of participants reported an accident to the responsible person. Students without accidents had a significantly better perception of risk (3.79 vs. 3.35; p<0.05). Out of the total participating students, only 16.6% (106/637) received all three doses of Hepatitis B vaccination, while 16.2% were partially vaccinated.
There is a need for additional theoretical and practical education of our students on blood exposure via accidents, raising the awareness of the necessity of hepatitis B vaccination, and introducing the unique/comprehensive procedure for accident reporting for students and healthcare workers in the entire country.