BioScience Trends. 2008;2(3):105-111.

Risk of sharps exposure among health science students in northeast China.

Zhang Z, Moji K, Cai GX, Ikemoto J, Kuroiwa C


Previous studies have demonstrated that sharps-related infectious disease is a global concern. Several papers have also reported that students are at a higher risk than healthcare workers. The prevalence of sharps exposure in China, however, is unknown. This study explored the incidence of sharps exposure and its related risk factors among students in all academic years and majors at a medical university in China. This cross sectional study was conducted at a Chinese medical university in May 2005. Stratified random sampling was used. Students in all five academic years (Y1-Y5) who were majoring in clinical medicine, nursing, dentistry, medical technology, pharmacology, acupuncture/massage, and public affairs management were provided questionnaires. Nine hundred seventy of 1,070 (90.7%) students completed the questionnaire. One hundred twenty-two of 968 (12.6%) students reported a total of 131 sharps exposures during the previous 12 months. Of these exposures, 24.7% occurred in academic year five (Y5) students, followed by 23.4% in academic year four (Y4) students. Dental students had the highest incidence rate at 20.6%, followed by medical students (16.0%), nursing students (12.2%), and acupuncture/massage students (5.0%). Only 45 (34.4%) of sharps exposures were reported to a supervisor, and the students displayed a general lack of knowledge of occupational exposure standards (OES). In conclusion, sharps exposures most frequently occurred among students from 3 majors: dentistry, nursing, and clinical medicine. Sharps exposures were underreported to supervisors. Effective OES educational programs need to be developed and should be implemented early in health science students' education.

KEYWORDS: Sharps exposure, Sharps injuries, Occupational exposure, Bloodborne pathogens, Medical education

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