You entered the nursing field to help others, but, like most heroic careers, practicing nursing comes with dangers. Simple errors while on the job can harm both you and your patients. Check out these common workplace hazards for nurses and learn how you can avoid these potential dangers.
Workplace Hazards for Nurses: Dangers to Yourself
These hazards can have negative impacts on your life in the workplace and after you go home. Many of these dangers are completely preventable when you take the proper precautions. Be mindful and talk with your supervisor to avoid these hazards.
1. Nursing Burnout
Nursing burnout is a major concern in the industry. Long shifts, weird hours, the stressful work environment and understaffing all contribute to nursing burnout. This phenomenon can have negative effects on your mood, motivation levels, emotional stability and physical well-being. To prevent nursing burnout, place a focus on your personal well-being and communicate concerns to your supervisor. You may be able to rework your schedule or your patient load. Even if these changes can’t be made, simply talking about the difficulties you’re experiencing can make them easier to manage.
As a nurse, the nature of your job makes you more susceptible to certain types of injuries including back pain, feet aches, and wrist sprains. These injuries can make it difficult to fulfill your daily responsibilities, and they can impact your life outside of work. Avoid these injuries by discussing personal safety with your supervisor. Talk about changes you can make to limit periods of standing and avoid lifting extremely heavy items.
3. Excessive Hand Washing/Lack of Handwashing
Your job requires you to work closely with your patients, which means you’ll be coming into contact with a wider range of germs. Washing your hands regularly is necessary to clean off these germs and prevent infection. Unfortunately, this excessive hand washing can damage the skin on your hands. Consider alternative, less damaging hand cleaning options, like hand rub solutions, and decide which method is best for you.
Workplace Hazards for Nurses: Dangers to Patients
As a nurse, you seek to help and treat your patients, not harm and infect them. Be cautious while on the job and make sure you’re making the best decisions for your patients. Talk with your supervisor about workplace safety to help avoid these dangers.
1. Improper Care
When you’re overworked, you may be improperly caring for patients. When caring for several patients at a time, nurses must assess patients and determine which one takes priority. Maintaining updated and accurate documentation while caring for multiple patients is critical for their well-being. Talk to your supervisor if you feel overwhelmed or unable to care for your designated patients.
2. Patient Injuries
Older patients and those with debilitating diseases may need extra assistance when moving from room to room. Take extra care with these patients when helping them get out of bed or use the restroom. Even if they do not request your assistance, be on alert for potential falls. Warn them about steps and slippery floors.
3. Spread of Infections
If you’re not careful, you could be exposing your patients to infections. Some patients are more vulnerable to infections based on their conditions. Pay particular attention to patients who you know are carrying infectious diseases. If you forget to wash your hands between patients, you’re putting them at risk. Studies show that you’re more likely to make errors like this if experiencing nursing burnout.
Being aware of potential workplace hazards for nurses can help you prevent them from happening. Use caution to avoid endangering yourself and your patients. What measures do you take to avoid workplace hazards while on the job?