Nursing Leadership Health Policy Paper

For hundreds of years, people from different sociological and economical backgrounds have been involved in body piercing activity. While some people do this for religious reasons, the increasing adoption of the act for aesthetic reasons is alarming. Within the US setting, the vice is increasingly gaining popularity among youths and even children - a culture that needs rapid intervention. While the United States is a technologically advanced nation, with arguably the best medical care programs in the globe, the body piercing exercise is mainly conducted through informal procedures involving quack practitioners. As such, the clients are subjected to risks of contracting contagious diseases noting that single body-piercing equipment is used on many clients. This paper reviews a possible legislative transformation to monitor body piercing methodologies. Included in the paper is a proposed bill outlining possible steps aimed at putting the legislative changes into practice.

Review of Body Piercing

While the aspect of body piercing is not retrogressive, the manner in which the procedure is accomplished needs rapid intervention. Through the informal trial-and-error setting in which the procedure is accomplished, many subjects to the piercing exercise have developed serious secondary complications. These include infections, persistently painful scars, and spread in blood and borne infections. Indeed, unsafe body piercing procedures are touted as factors in the spread of HIV/AIDS pandemic. In the current setting of the Federal State of Arizona, the body piercing exercise is under negligible regulation, with the practitioners neither qualified nor licensed to accomplish the procedures. Keen analysis of the practice further reveals that basic aseptic techniques, such as skin cleansing during the operation, are never carried out. As such, the germs and other microbes on the skin surface are easily facilitated to move into the body where they are likely to spur massive antigen-antibody reactions thus risking patient lives. Moreover, there is a concern that despite the establishment of piercing studios within Arizona, such studios are hardly inspected. This paints a picture of governmental setup committed to extorting tax from business firms at the expense of quality healthcare to citizens. The problem is further manifested through minimal enforcement of existent legislations. For instance, the State of Arizona has well stipulated guidelines against sharing of piercing equipment, and performance of the procedure on minors though such guidelines is hardly followed (Arizona State Senate, 1997). Neither is sterilization of the piercing equipment conducted as per the WHO guidelines.

Based on medical reports by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there have been increasing cases of Hepatitis C, not just within Arizona but across the globe. The report further relates the spread of the deadly virus to uncontrolled piercing and tattooing exercises, which provide secondary routes for the disease. The gravity of the Hepatitis C case is further highlighted by the report which cites 16,500 cases in 2011, with an annual increase of 1229 new cases. To curb the menace, the CDC report categorically outlines prevention of needles-stick injuries, reduction of cross contamination and administration of Hepatitis B vaccine as ideal control steps. The bill wording, therefore, aims at accomplishing the first two proposals of the report: prevention of secondary injuries, and reduction in procedural contamination.

Below is the proposed bill aimed at regulating body piercing exercise, an activity that is becoming a menace to the US population:

Proposed Bill Title: Legislative Control of Body Piercing Activity

Section 1: In this context, body piercing will be defined as the use of needle or other sharp objects, including but not limited to jewelry or decorations, on any body parts.

Section 2: It is mandatory for any firm opting to undertake the body piercing exercise to provide proofs of:

  1. Valid and up-to-date Hepatitis B Vaccination compliance
  2. Complete training on OSHA Blood-borne Pathogen.
  3. Compliance to client age limits equal to or above 18 years
  4. Disinfection awareness and strategies put in place to control spread of opportunistic infections
  5. Proper waste and used equipment disposal mechanisms
  6. Commendable chemical and supplies labeling to avoid confusion of drugs and other chemical used in the piercing exercise
  7. Functional sterilization equipment such as autoclaves, and regular servicing of the same

Section 3: Proposed Piercing Technique and Procedure:

  1. Single equipment for single use is preferred. Sterilization must be carried out where single use is impossible, or uneconomical
  2. All jewelry must be sterilized prior to use on clients
  3. Sharp objects must be properly disposed in specified containers to prevent possible injuries.
  4. Blood-contaminated material must be properly disposed off in biohazard containers

Section 4: Proposed Premium Client Subscriptions for Body-Piercing Exercise

  1. A basic payment of $100 will be made in the first year. The subscription will be renewed at $75 annually.

Section 5: Licensing Rates for Body-Piercing Firms

  1. The firms will be licensed upon payment of a fee not exceeding $300, renewable annually.

Section 6: Fines and Repercussions

Failure to comply with the items specified in the above sections (2, 3, 4 and 5) will call for:

  1. A fine not exceeding $500 and a C-Class misdemeanor for the first offence
  2. A fine not exceeding $1000 and a B-class misdemeanor for the second offense
  3. A third or consecutive misdemeanor and deviation from the stipulated guidelines shall call for revocation of body-piercing practice license from the firm, a subsequent suspension from the exercise for a period not less than 5 years, and further punishment and fines as deemed right by the court

Considering the level of informational lapses within the piercing practice arena, it is necessary to adopt educational programs to support the policy. Firstly, the public needs to be enlightened on the repercussions of engaging in uncontrolled body piercing exercise seen within the current practice. Such education will help the public to make informed decisions on whether to undertake the health risk or not. In addition, the body piercing practitioners need to be enlightened on safe practice, and the need to be licensed to practice. These piercers training programs can be conducted through professional consultative forums such as CPR classes and Blood-borne disease educational platforms.

To ensure success of the bill, it will be championed by prominent governmental personnel whom I have at one time or another worked closely with. Farnsworth Eddie, the state representative and member of the House Committee on Public Safety, will champion for the adoption of the bill at national level while Barney Gail, the Queen Creek mayor-Arizona, will champion for the adoption of the bill within the State of Arizona. At personal level, the writer who has drafted the bill has close ties with the aforementioned leaders who are not only personal friends but great role models. The leadership prowess of the two saw the writer not only voting for them but also making campaign for their election. Moreover, the writer has had an opportunity to closely work with the two leaders through volunteer programs, and as such has great confidence in the ability of Eddie and Gail to champion for the change. Since the member of the House introduces the bill to the house for discussion prior to its passage to the senate for further deliberation, presence of such close ties between the writer and the house member is advantageous to the proposed bill.

Complete implementation and adoption of the policy requires public support. As such, the bill focuses on public health and safety parameters respecting the principle rights to expression. In nursing practice, it is high time the nurses came out to champion for initiatives that aid in improving public safety by actively engaging in positive public health campaigns and forums. In the proposed bill, the educational programs and awareness campaigns will mainly be focused on the danger on unhealthy and underage piercing practices so as to enlighten the public on the choices they are likely to make in life. Moreover, the awareness program will be directed towards unlicensed piercing business to make them understand the need for the need to protect their clients from needless secondary complications. To facilitate the campaign, the lobby groups established for the bill will use booklets and posters as communication tools to advocate for better practices. The lobby will be founded on the slogan of "better knowledge, for better decisions", a direct a reiteration for the need for public knowledge prior to adopting different cultures.

In summary, this legislation if adopted will help to control disease spread, and also guarantees the legal safety of both the practitioner and the client. Nurses must hence come out and lobby for this bill within the social settings. A public acceptance of the bill is also of essence, given that the public has critical roles to play in the awareness campaigns and acceptance of the bill. Ultimately, the beneficiaries of this bill are the people of Arizona as well as the practitioners of body piercing. It will legitimize the practice by licensing the certified piercers. The effective regulation of this practice will thus be a milestone in the right direction, both from a nursing and public health perspective.

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