Working With Hazardous Drugs: How To Ensure Safe Handling

Posted on: 8 April 2018

When it comes to working in the nursing field, you have to expect some risks, especially when it comes to exposure to certain illnesses and drugs. You might not realize this going into the field, but there are quite a few drugs that are quite toxic for a healthy person to come in contact with, including those used in chemotherapy.

Because of this toxicity, it's crucial that you use specific safety techniques when working with these drugs. Failure to follow safety procedures when working with hazardous drugs can lead to significant health concerns. Here are just four safety tips you should follow when working with hazardous drugs.

Use Controlled Systems of Delivery

If you're going to be dispensing hazardous drugs, it's crucial that you use controlled delivery systems. These controlled delivery systems ensure that your exposure to the drugs is limited at all times. Your healthcare facility should utilize a procedure known as a closed system transfer device, or CSTD.

This system ensures that hazardous drugs are in a controlled setting. If your health care facility doesn't utilize CSTD, you need to talk to someone about making the necessary changes to protect those who come in contact with hazardous drugs.

Use Required Safety Gear at All Times

When working with hazardous drugs, you need to remember to use the required safety gear at all times, even when CSTD protocol is followed. Wearing your required safety gear, including medical gown, face protection, and gloves, will ensure that you're properly protected throughout the dispensing procedure.

Dispose of Medical Supplies Properly

After you're done dispensing the hazardous drugs, you need to ensure that the medical supplies are disposed of properly. It's not enough to simply discard the materials; they need to be disposed of in a manner that will protect you, and anyone else who may come in contact with the materials. It's crucial that you utilize the hazardous waste materials disposal protocols that are in place at your healthcare facility.

Never Eat or Drink Near the Medication

When working with hazardous drugs, it's important that you remember that the drugs are toxic, which means you should never eat or drink near them. This includes storing your food in areas located near the drugs. It's also crucial that you wash your hands thoroughly before eating or drinking while you're at work. Following these safety procedures will help prevent exposure to the hazardous drugs that you're working with on a daily basis.

For more information, contact your local hazardous drug cstd program.