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Work Schedule, Needle Use, and Needlestick Injuries Among Registered Nurses

  • Alison M. Trinkoff (a1), Rong Le (a1), Jeanne Geiger-Brown (a1) and Jane Lipscomb (a1)

To examine the association between working conditions and needlestick injury among registered nurses. We also describe needle use and needlestick injuries according to nursing position, workplace, and specialty.


Three-wave longitudinal survey conducted between November 2002 and April 2004.

Setting and Participants.

A probability sample of 2,624 actively licensed registered nurses from 2 states in the United States. Follow-up rates for waves 2 and 3 were 85% and 86%, respectively. Respondents who had worked as a nurse during the past year (n = 2,273) prior to wave 1 were included in this analysis.


Of the nurses, 15.6% reported a history of needlestick injury in the year before wave 1, and the cumulative incidence by wave 3 was 16.3%. The estimated number of needles used per day was significantly related to the odds of sustaining a needlestick injury. Hours worked per day, weekends worked per month, working other than day shifts, and working 13 or more hours per day at least once a week were each significantly associated with needlestick injuries. A factor combining these variables was significantly associated with needlestick injuries even after adjustment for job demands, although this association was somewhat explained by physical job demands.


Despite advances in protecting workers from needlestick injuries, extended work schedules and their concomitant physical demands are still contributing to the occurrence of injuries and illnesses to nurses. Such working conditions, if modified, could lead to further reductions in needlestick injuries.

Corresponding author
University of Maryland School of Nursing, 655 W. Lombard St., Baltimore, MD 21201 (
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