Like many nurses, working in health care is more than just a job for you — it is a calling. You already understand the expertise and dedication it takes to be there for your patients, and you always do your best to provide the best possible care. However, does your employer give the same care and attention to your safety? Unfortunately, nursing injuries are not all that uncommon.
Approximately three million registered nurses work across all medical industries in the United States, and many of them face daily workplace hazards. These hazards are rarely out of the ordinary and often show up during routine tasks. Once you consider how much time the average nurse spends standing, bending and attending to other regular tasks, it is easy to see just how much risk you face.
Overexertion in nursing
Overexertion is the most common workplace injury among nurses, accounting for 46% of all nursing injuries in 2016. This type of injury most frequently affects the back and also impedes ease of movement. A few causes of overexertion include:
- Excessive physical effort
- Repetitive motions
Overexertion injuries may strike at any time without warning. Any time you exert more physical effort than your body is accustomed to or prepared for, you are at risk for overexertion. While this injury comes on quickly, it can take considerable recovery time until you are back on your feet.
Slips, trips and falls
As a nurse, you are also at a heightened risk for slip, trip and fall injuries at work. In 2016, these types of accidents accounted for 25% of all nursing injuries. Perhaps most upsetting is that researchers at the National Center for Biotechnology Information — NCBI — concluded that the majority of slip, trip and fall injuries are preventable.
Environmental hazards are the most common contributing factor to fall injuries. These include things like wet floors and obstructed walkways. Even loose cords pose a tripping hazard. While all nurses are at risk for fall injuries, research does show that those over the age of 50 are more likely to suffer serious injuries in workplace falls.
Getting back on your feet
All it takes is a single accident or injury to put you out of work. For a nurse, there may be fewer things more devastating than no longer being able to care for your patients. This means that it is time to prioritize your own recovery.
One of the most effective ways to prioritize your recovery is by pursuing workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits provide compensation for medical bills related to your workplace nursing injuries, and even help cover your lost wages. Securing workers’ comp benefits can be a challenge though, and some victims may need to prepare to file an appeal.