Qualitative determination of occupational risks among operating room nurses

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Ülfiye Çelikkalp
Aylin Aydın Sayılan


Employee, nurse, operating room, safety


Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the occupational risks faced by operating room nurses, their working conditions and health problems, and the protective measures adopted. Background: Since operating rooms are high-risk environments, the nurses working in them are exposed to correspondingly greater health risks. Method: This qualitative descriptive study design involved 17 operating room nurses and was performed in a public hospital in Turkey. Data were collected by the author during face-to-face interviews using a semi-structured form constructed on the basis of the study aims. Theme establishment continued until new data emerged from the analysis of all interviews. Data were then subjected to qualitative content analysis. Results: Three main themes were determined in the study, worker safety, working conditions, and training. At interview, operating room nurses reported being exposed to several occupational risks, including radiation, sharp implements, long working hours, and working standing up. They also reported experiencing, or were anxious about encountering in the future, various health problems associated with these risks. They also identified activities associated with education and protective measures as inadequate. Discussion and conclusion: Several occupational risk factors in the operating room environment adversely affect the health of nurses working in the unit. We recommend that standards aimed at protecting against occupational risks be applied on a regular basis in order to preserve the personal health and safety of operating room staff.

Implication for nursing and health policy:

Nurses are responsible for the constant care of their patients under all conditions and environments but may face the risk of compromise of their own health as a result. Training, certification, and nursing policies aimed at protecting the health of employees in clinical settings should be implemented.

What is already known about the topic?

Operating room nurses are known to experience severe health problems arising from their working environment. Many nurses have to cope or live with these health problems.

What this paper adds: The study reveals the need for operating room nursing education programs. It also stresses the importance of legislation and monitoring to ensure a safe working environment for nurses in Turkey.

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