What’s New in the Patient Safety World

November 2017

Syringe Re-Use Surprisingly Common



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

July 2014                     Joint Commission Sentinel Event Alert: Don’t Misuse Vials

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.






Print “PDF version













Tip of the Week Archive


What’s New in the Patient Safety World Archive