Occupational exposure of medical staff is the hazard or latent harm caused by occupational-specific risks, meaning the exposure of medical staff to toxic, harmful substances or infectious pathogens during diagnosis, treatment, and nursing activities, which may impair their health or even be life-threatening.
A study investigating 158 hospitals at different levels on the occurrence of occupational exposure of medical staff showed that up to 122 hospitals presented this phenomenon, accounting for 77.22%. Among the 11,116 cases of occupational exposure, 53.90% were nursing staff, followed by doctors (21.31%). Therefore, the nursing staff are the most at risk of occupational exposure.
Source: Investigation and Analysis of Occupational Exposure and Protection for Chinese Medical Staff
American researchers conducted a simulation experiment using fluorescent labeling coatings and droplet test papers to test the distance and location at which contaminated droplets can contaminate medical staff when washing and disinfecting reusable medical devices. The research came to the following conclusion:
The droplet test papers were attached to the wash and disinfectant area and the body of the medical personnel. After a workflow of washing and disinfection, the operational pool and the operator were contaminated by visible droplets, with the head and face being the most severely contaminated body parts.
These splashed droplets are pollutants that may form aerosols in high concentration, and various pathogens attaching to these "droplets" pose a risk of infection to medical staff.
This shows that the washing action poses a major threat to nursing staff. We often overlook many risks and hidden dangers because they are invisible. To medical staff, personnel protection and equipment protection are equally important!
In the context of intelligent technology development, hospitals are paying more attention to improving refined management and emphasizing the health and safety of medical staff. Many hospitals and nursing institutions have gradually abandoned conventional manual disinfection operations and replaced them with automatic bedpan washer.
Many medical institutions have set up bedpan washers in the decontamination room during the renovation of the ward, with the purpose of standardizing the operation, thus ensuring the normalization, installation, and compliance of the disinfection process and striving to achieve zero errors in nosocomial infection; guaranteeing high disinfection quality and efficiency, by utilizing heating disinfection methods to effectively kill drug-resistant organisms, infectious diseases, and some pathogens that cannot be completely killed by chemical disinfectants, such as Clostridium difficile; providing safe personnel protection, by using sealed chambers for disinfection to reduce the possibility of infection spreading, thereby protecting the respiratory tract of medical staff.
We need to provide more concern and seek wider and deeper infection control solutions for the occupational exposure of medical staff, and effective equipment protection is the line of defense for protecting the occupational health of medical staff. It is of utmost importance to ensure the life, health, and safety of medical staff. Therefore, all peers shall be more meticulous and serious in safeguarding their own life safety and work hard to deal with and prevent occupational exposure!