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Nurses, PPE, and Antineoplastic Drugs
Many nurses who administer antineoplastic (chemotherapeutic) drugs report not always wearing protective gloves and protective gowns, according to a study published in January by the American Journal of Nursing. Researchers collected data from the Nurses’ Health Study, a web-based survey of nurses in Canada and the United States. The study results are drawn from the responses of 315 pregnant and 3,845 nonpregnant nurses. Antineoplastic drugs are administered in liquid or pill form. Exposure to these drugs can harm the healthy cells of nurses and of a developing baby.  Researchers from NIOSH, the Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mass., contributed to the study. Information from the study appears below.
From the NIOSH press release: “Study researchers can only hypothesize why some nurses in the study didn’t handle antineoplastic drugs safely. Previous research suggests that reasons may include prioritizing care for patients over their own personal health, lack of concern or awareness by either employee or employer of the toxicity of these drugs, and availability or opportunity to wear protective gloves and gowns.”
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In August, The Knoxville News Sentinel reported that a student intern and a researcher at Oak Ridge Associated Universities had devised an experiment to replicate the McCluskey incident in order to study the effects of radiation on the body. By irradiating vials of their own blood for different lengths of time, the researchers hope to generate data that clinicians and first responders can refer to following an exposure incident.

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