The incidence and reporting of sharps exposure among medical students, orthopedic residents, and faculty at one institution

Johnathan A. Bernard, Jonathan R. Dattilo, Dawn M. Laporte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objective To compare the incidence of sharps injuries among medical students, orthopedic residents/fellows, and orthopedic faculty at one institution and to determine the rate of reporting exposures. Design Cross-sectional survey. Surveys were completed by 44% (53/120) of medical students, 76% (23/30) of residents/fellows, and 56% (17/30) of full-time faculty. Setting Academic medical center. Participants Medical students, orthopedic surgery residents/fellows, full-time academic orthopedic surgery faculty. Results Twenty-eight percent of medical students, 83% of residents/fellows, and 100% of faculty had been exposed to a sharps injury at some point in their career; 42% of residents/fellows had experienced a sharps exposure within the past year. The most common single instrument responsible for sharps injuries among all groups was the solid-bore needle; students and residents were significantly more likely than faculty to have a sharps injury from a solid-bore needle than all other devices combined (p = 0.04). Medical students were more likely to ignore the exposure than residents/fellows (p = 0.004) or faculty (p = 0.036). Only 12.5% of medical students followed all the steps of the postexposure protocol. Conclusion Sharps exposures occur among orthopedic surgeons and their trainees. Interventions are needed to increase safety among residents and medical students. Further research should evaluate factors suppressing medical student reporting of sharps exposures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)660-668
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of surgical education
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2013


  • medical student
  • orthopedic surgery
  • resident
  • sharps needlestick

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education


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