Many people consider nursing to be one of the highest callings. You spend your days devoting your life to helping care for the sick and injured. Sometimes, though, you focus so hard on taking care of others that you forget to take care of yourself.
Unfortunately, this means that you also have a higher risk of injury or illness on the job. The physical demands of healthcare and nursing jobs put you at risk of injuries as you perform your duties since your job involves repetitive motion, heavy lifting and long hours spent on your feet. Not only can your day-to-day tasks take a toll on your body, but you also chance injury in many of the scenarios you encounter on a daily basis.
Common nursing injuries
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurses are 48 percent more likely to sprain their backs, wrists or ankles on the job, and 60 percent more likely to have chronic foot and lower back pain. Nurses also have the third highest reported injury rate of any profession, surpassed only by professional movers and truck drivers. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration considers hospitals to be less safe workplaces than construction sites! Some of the most common on-the-job nursing injuries include:
- Back strains and sprains, even herniated discs
- Joint injuries and torn rotator cuffs
- Slip and fall injuries
- Infections due to exposure to air- and blood-borne pathogens
Tips to avoid injury
There’s no way you can foresee accidents or avoid every injury, but a few things you can do to help protect yourself include the following:
- Wear comfortable, supportive, non-slip shoes
- Stretch frequently
- Get plenty of rest and take enough time off to help you avoid overexertion
- Lift with your legs
- Ask for help when moving heavy patients or objects
- After cleaning cuts and abrasions, keep them covered to avoid infection
- Wash your hands often
After an injury occurs
The first step after an injury occurs usually requires seeking medical attention as soon as possible, to receive a diagnosis and necessary treatment. It’s best to report your injury to your supervisor or human resources department, regardless of whether you think it’s just a minor injury. However, if it’s serious, you will likely want to consider filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Whether you work at a doctor’s office, a hospital or any other of the various types of medical facilities, workers’ compensation laws cover most cases involving workplace injury. The benefits to which you are likely entitled can help to cover all injury-related medical expenses as well as lost wages for missed work. Depending on your injury, you might need other benefits as well. A Minnesota workers’ compensation attorney can likely provide valuable legal advice and representation to help make sure you receive all of the benefits that you need and deserve.