Nursing is a calling that requires dedication and resilience. It’s also a profession fraught with challenges that can significantly heighten the risk of sustaining a work-related injury.
Whether you are an experienced or recently certified nursing assistant, it helps to know the challenges one may face in this line of work and how these challenges can increase the risk of workplace injuries.
Heavy lifting and manual handling
Nurses often lift and transfer patients, maneuver medical equipment and handle heavy loads throughout their shifts. These repetitive tasks can lead to muscular and skeletal injuries, including strains, sprains and even more serious conditions like herniated discs. Nurses can incorporate regular stretching exercises into their routines to help prevent muscle fatigue and reduce the risk of injury.
Exposure to infectious diseases
Nurses frequently come into contact with infectious pathogens, making them susceptible to contracting diseases such as influenza, tuberculosis and COVID-19. Despite adhering to strict infection control protocols, the nature of their work makes them vulnerable to exposure. Nurses can minimize their risk of exposure by wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, gloves, gowns and face shields.
Nurses sometimes face verbal abuse, threats and even physical assaults from patients, visitors or colleagues. Workplace violence in healthcare settings can have profound psychological effects on nurses and compromise their safety and well-being.
Long hours and fatigue
Nurses frequently work extended shifts, which can lead to physical and mental exhaustion. Fatigue not only impairs nurses’ ability to provide safe and effective patient care but can also increase the likelihood of errors and accidents.
Nurses face a myriad of challenges in their profession, many of which significantly increase their risk of injury. By understanding these challenges, nurses can take proactive measures to minimize their risk of injury. However, even the most safety-conscious workers can still get hurt on the job. Should a nurse sustain an injury in their line of work, it can help to consult a legal team to establish if they are eligible for workers’ compensation.