Date of Publication


Project Team

Dr. Stuart Whitney, RN EdD CNL & Kimberly Morse


Background: Nearly eight million United States healthcare workers are potentially exposed to hazardous drugs (HDs) in their workplace. This exposure puts staff at increased risk of acute myeloid leukemia, breast cancer, rectal cancer, and fetal anomalies. Despite evidence-based guidelines for handling HDs, preventative measures are inadequate surveillance.

Purpose: This project sought to evaluate current policies and procedures regarding HD exposure workplace practices at large academic medical centers in the Northeast, improve education of HD exposure, and develop a standardized medical surveillance program (MSP) at one large academic health network.

Methods: Large academic medical centers in the Northeast were contacted to provide information about current workplace practices. Semi-structured interviews (N=14) were conducted to determine current workplace practices & policies at each (N=14) institution. Data from interviews, current policies and procedures was evaluated to create a proposed MSP. Data was presented to stakeholders. A post-presentation survey and discussion informed feasibility and determined next steps for implementation.

Results: Information from 14 medical centers was analyzed. The post-presentation survey identified obstacles for implementation including: Need for an occupational medicine provider; A record keeping system; Monitoring on an ongoing basis; and Defining population at-risk to survey. Eight of nine stakeholders filled out the post-presentation survey. All respondents supported development of a standardized MSP. 87.5% of respondents advocated for hiring of an occupational medicine provider to successfully implement an MSP.

Conclusion: Stakeholders supported development of a standardized MSP within the target academic health network and advocated for an occupational medicine provider at each institution in the network for successful implementation. The data from this study will guide policy change & future implementation of an MSP.

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