Cancer Nurs. 2015 Mar-Apr;38(2):111-7. doi: 10.1097/NCC.0000000000000143.
BACKGROUND: Exposure to antineoplastic drugs confers health risks to workers, yet little is known about the exposure after a drug spill, nor has the relationship between exposure and organizational factors such as staffing and work environment been studied.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to evaluate drug spills prospectively using biological measures and correlate drug spills with organizational factors.
METHODS: Prospective questionnaires with 8-hour timed urine samples were collected from nursing and pharmacy personnel who reported drug spill events in 1 academic health center’s infusion center. Urine was collected similarly from workers who did not report a spill. Liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry techniques identified detectable drug levels. After the prospective sampling period, workers were surveyed on workloads, practice environment, and safety behaviors.
RESULTS: From 81 eligible individuals, 40 participated in the prospective study and 19 completed retrospective questionnaires. Four spills were reported by 9 personnel, as multiple employees were exposed to drug spills. Four participants who reported a spill showed detectable levels of antineoplastic drugs. Four participants who did not report a spill had detectable levels of docetaxel. Compared with respondents who did not report a spill, collegial relations with physicians were significantly poorer for workers who reported spills.
CONCLUSIONS: The study protocol successfully captured drug spill reports and biological samples. Workers have detectable levels of antineoplastic drugs through both drug spills and environmental contamination.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Multisite research studies and practice-based quality improvement approaches are needed to improve adherence to personal protective equipment use and safe handling procedures.