We’ve done several columns highlighting reports where insulin pens were inappropriately used on multiple different patients. But a new study (Kossover-Smith 2017) found that unsafe injection practices are both commonplace and not confined to misuse of insulin pens.
Kossover-Smith and colleagues surveyed physicians and nurses about injection practices and found that 12% of physicians and 3% of nurses indicated syringe reuse occurs in their workplace. Unsafe injection practices were reported by both physicians and nurses across all surveyed physician specialties and nurse practice locations. Even more surprisingly, nearly 5% of physicians indicated this practice usually or always occurs. A higher proportion of oncologists reported unsafe practices occurring in their workplace.
The authors conclude that, since their survey revealed dangerous provider misperceptions and behaviors, further research into ways to modify behaviors is needed. Provider campaigns, such as the One & Only Campaign, are available to support safe practices in any setting where injections are delivered. That campaign emphasizes “one needle, one syringe, only one time”.
Some of our prior columns highlighting the safety issues of insulin, insulin pumps, insulin pens and similar devices:
November 2, 2010 “Insulin: Truly a High-Risk Medication”
September 18, 2012 “Insulin Pump Safety”
February 26, 2013 “Insulin Pen Re-Use Incidents: How Do You Monitor Alerts?”
April 2013 “More Tips on Insulin Pen Safety”
April 2014 “Insulin Pens - Again”
March 10, 2015 “FDA Warning Label on Insulin Pens: Is It Enough?”
April 14, 2015 “Using Insulin Safely in the Hospital”
Kossover-Smith RA, Coutts K, Hatfield, KM, et al. One needle, one syringe, only one time? A survey of physician and nurse knowledge, attitudes, and practices around injection safety. Am J Infect Control 2017; 45(9): 1018-1023
One & Only Campaign.