Dental shields replace goggles for staff who distribute medication

As the result of an employee suggestion implemented in 2014, staff members who distribute medication at California State Prison, Sacramento (SAC), now wear dental shields to prevent inmate bodily fluid contact, also known as “gassings.” Staff had previously worn goggles to distribute medication.

Supervising Registered Nurse Judy James submitted the suggestion and its implementation immediately reduced the number of emergency room visits by staff who distribute medication.

“As a supervisor, I have filled out countless Workman Comp forms for (gassing) exposure,” Ms. James said. “My suggestion is good for all the state prison in California … The use of dental shields is a positive approach. Keeping people safe and limiting their exposure is the name of the game.”

California Correctional Health Care Services Chief Nursing Executive Barbara Barney-Knox evaluated the suggestion for statewide implementation and subsequently approved it this year after its success at SAC.

“I would recommend implementation of this process as it would increase safety, decrease cost of ER visits and time loss from work,” Ms. Barney-Knox said. “Protecting our nursing staff demonstrates a commitment to providing a work environment that is safe, supports the health of our staff, and is aligned with current safety practices within the community.”