Nurse Safety: Back Injuries Plague the Nursing Industry

Nurses often work long hours and can struggle with exhaustion and overexertion. As a nurse, you know that the best thing you can do for yourself is to eat right and get enough rest, but your job doesn’t always make it easy.

Unfortunately, when people can’t get enough downtime, their bodies wear down. They may end up suffering injuries, which is why nursing is one of the jobs that can cause the most workplace injuries. In the health-care industry, nurses have many responsibilities, like providing medications, transferring patients and helping them with other needs during their stay.

Along with long hours, it’s no wonder that nursing employees suffer around 35,000 back and other injuries each year. Many of those injuries end their careers, which shows just how serious they can be.

Why do nurses struggle with back injuries?

Part of the problem is the difficult angle at which nurses have to lift patients in order to transfer them from a wheelchair to the bed or other location. With two people, it can be easier to do so, but even with good posture and support, the weight of another person, along with their movements, can result in injury.

What can nurses do to reduce the strain on their backs on the job?

Working in pairs is one good idea, but if that’s not possible, then the hospital or department should look into purchasing patient lifts. These devices still require nurses to hook the patients up for transport, but the machine does the heavy lifting. This can prevent many of the injuries seen in today’s nursing workforce.

What should you do if you get hurt while working as a nurse?

The first thing to do is to stop whatever it is you’re doing and seek medical care. Since you’re working in health care, it’s likely that there is help nearby. Have someone assist you in getting a medical exam. If you’d prefer to go elsewhere for the exam, you have a right to choose your doctor for the initial exam, in most cases.

Once you go through the first exam, you’ll have a better idea of the injuries you have and how they may affect you moving forward. You’ll want to report the injury to your employer, and you also need to begin your workers’ compensation case. This coverage will make sure your trip to a medical provider is paid for, along with any additional treatments you need.