Every job comes with its hazards. You can easily have accidents in any workplace environment. Granted, some jobs are more dangerous than others obviously. But, for nurses, the ones who make a living taking care of the sickness and injuries in others, we must try to avoid the common ailments that can happen to us while working at the hospital. Additionally, nursing has the second highest rate of non-fatal work-related injuries of all modern U.S. professions!
Reasons for high amounts of injuries:
- Long periods of standing (causing exhaustion)
- Working harder due to under-staffing/staff shortages
- Handling too heavy of weight
- Not adequately being educated by employers about personal safety measures
- Increased patient loads
Back pain surprisingly is extremely common among nurses. Remember the cliche saying, “lift with your legs, not with your back”? I actually mean remember it! Avoid pulling your back out. Back pain is common especially due to job shortages and needing to assist patients by physically moving them without proper assistance. Nearly 50% of nurses have reported instances of back pain suffering. If we could equip our facilities with proper tools for lifting patients, especially those elderly and overweight, we could reduce the amount of healthcare staff hurting themselves.
Foot problems are common as well. To combat this, don’t compromise on shoe comfort. Because nurses are always on their feet, you might as well invest in some super comfy kicks to rock around the hospital in during your long-shifts. Don’t be cheap when it comes to the house for those little piggies. Or, you’ll risk a foot or ankle injury that’ll make you go “wee, wee, wee, all the way home”–injured from work.
Wrist sprains are also common from extensive typing and such. Be sure to try and rest up those hands with as many breaks as you can squeeze in.
Cuts happen commonly in the workplace for nurses, too. A teeny hangnail that turns into a cut or papercut needs to be treated properly STAT. Because you’re working in an environment that is crawling with bacteria, the most minor little scrape could easily escalate into a full fledged nightmare with infection. Also, nurses are at risk because their workplace environment is full of sharp objects like needles and sutures.
Washing your hands constantly can only protect one so much from picking up some of the sicknesses floating around a nurse’s workplace. Also, infectious disease risks are high for anyone who is exposed to so many sick people on a daily basis. Hand-to-mouth transfer, skin absorption, ocular irritation and respiratory inhalation can transfer a number of pathogens onto caregivers like nurses. It’s crucial to constantly be on guard by wearing proper shields against these.
Assault and violence surprisingly is a factor nurses must be weary of unfortunately. Most nurses will tell you they’ve been hit, screamed at, bit, scratched, or had an item thrown at them. Patients, families and friends going through a lot of stress can have extreme violent outbursts that they unfairly unleash onto medical staff. It is important to speak up if you feel that you or a coworker is in danger. Be weary of angry guests and families in the hospital as well as inappropriate behaviors. And, don’t be shy to report any bizarre behaviors you may notice at work. Better safe than sorry!
Considering the nurse staffing shortage and all the possible ways to get injured while on the floor, its super important to be conscious of all the possible ways to avoid harm. After all, as a healthcare provider, you don’t want to become a patient yourself after hurting yourself while working!