Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Health Science (Honours)


School of Nursing


Western Australian College of Advanced Education

First Supervisor

Anne McMurray


Needlestick injuries present a hazard to both nurse and patient in that they may be the source of transmission of Hepatitis B and the human immunodeficiency virus. It is therefore important to study the factors which either precipitate or prevent needlestick injury. This study examined the effect of shift length on the number of needlestick injuries. Variables which were tested included length of shift, location of work, time of shift, and time within shift. A descriptive survey was used to demonstrate a relationship between any of these variables and the occurrence of needlestick injuries. The study included two data sources: the Accident/Incident form completed by nurses after they sustained a needlestick injury, and a dexterity test designed to indicate whether nurses' dexterity levels decreased at the end of the shift when compared to the beginning of the shift. The population sample included all nurses working at the Mount Hospital between January 1989 and August 1990. General systems theory was chosen as a framework to guide this study.