I am a nurse on a medicine unit in Edmonton.
What should I do if I find a used syringe in one of my client's bed's?
I want to be a supportive nurse but I'm frustrated that I was put at risk since I could have given myself a needle-stick injury and don't know what to do now.
Dear Feeling Conflicted,
Great question! We understand that you are wanting to provide positive nursing care but that you are conflicted regarding the possible risk to your own (and possibly others) health related to a needle stick injury.
Here are some suggestions that could help you next time you encounter a situation like this again!
If you are comfortable, pick up the syringe with gloves or tongs, from the plunger side of the needle and dispose of it safely in a sharps container
The next step may be to consider asking some of the following questions.
This syringe may be a chance to open up the conversation with the client about safer consumption options, build rapport and provide relational care with your client. It may also prevent similar instances in the future.
In this situation, try to remember that the client may be worried about stigma or discrimination for using illegal substances while in acute care. Try to approach this client with respect and acknowledgement of these possible fears but also set parameters for your and their safety.
Thank you for your question!