When people in Minnesota think of workers with dangerous jobs, they usually list roofers, loggers or police officers, among others. It is not likely that nurses come to mind. Nevertheless, the nursing profession is quickly rising as one of the most hazardous jobs in the country. As a professional nurse, you are probably quick to agree with that assessment.
The long hours and poor staffing alone may create an environment conducive to injury, and the fact that you work around sick people makes you susceptible to illnesses. However, this is only the beginning of the risks you face on the job each day. There are many reasons why your job is dangerous that the average person would not consider.
Nurses face danger from all sides
The physical demands of your job are just the beginning, but they are likely the ones that create the most trouble for you. Back injuries are common among nurses, partly because you are on your feet all day, but also because of lifting and transferring patients. Even proper lifting techniques can’t always protect you from injury, and the instinctive move or twist to catch a patient who stumbles is often the cause of serious strains.
Other common hazards on the job include:
- Exposure to contagious illnesses
- Hazardous medical devices
- Surgical smoke
- Long, demanding shifts
You can probably add many factors to this list. However, one workplace hazard that has recently received press coverage is the violence you face from hostile or unstable patients. This may be the result of a patient’s mental illness, confusion or medications, but the number of nurse injuries from this source is increasing each year.
Help for nurses in need
No matter the cause of your workplace injury, you may have concerns if it means you will miss work. Back injuries can be especially troubling since one back strain may leave you vulnerable to future injuries. Taking the time to recover fully is important, but you have understandable worries about losing shifts and paying your medical bills.
Fortunately, workers’ compensation provides coverage for medical expenses related to workplace injuries and time missed from work. While these benefits are available to nurses injured on the job, pursuing and obtaining them is not always easy, especially if you are injured or ill. Having help from a legal professional has made all the difference for many nurses in your position.