Nursing is tough, let's face it. It’s common knowledge that nurses in all disciplines are overworked. They see countless patients and work extremely long hours. To many people, it seems that nurses do little more than dispense medication and give injections. In reality, nurse’s duties include long hours on their feet, all kinds of heavy lifting and lots of repetitive motion. It’s strenuous work that can lead to nursing injuries.
The Nursing injuries cheat sheet
(According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics)
- Nurses are 48% more likely to have wrist, back and/or ankle sprains or strains on the job, compared to all other occupations
- They are 60% more likely to report chronic soreness and pain, especially in the feet and lower back
- 53% of all injuries while nursing were reported to be due to overexertion
- Nurses have the third highest reported injury rate of any profession, just below truck drivers and professional movers
- Nurses have one of the highest risks of exposure to deadly bacteria, hazardous chemicals and infectious diseases.
It appears that nurses really do have dangerous jobs. Educating yourself as to how to prevent injury should be of top priority. It is possible to have a fulfilling career in nursing and still avoid personal injury.
How to avoid wrist, back and ankle sprains
These are, not surprisingly, the top three nursing related injuries. Nursing involves lifting heavy people and equipment, and standing for hours at a time.
To avoid back or wrist injuries while lifting you should:
- Don’t skimp on shoes. They should have good ankle and arch support and have a non-slip sole.
- Rest your hands and back from time to time and have them massaged.
- Exercise regularly to keep your leg and back muscles strong and supple.
- Over exertion is the primary cause of injuries in the nursing workplace. Make sure you take enough time off. If you aren’t sufficiently rested both mentally and physically, you could cause harm to yourself and others.
- Shift work can wreak havoc with your ability to sleep and this can cause of over exertion. Be sure to get enough sleep.
- Be sure you are lifting properly—with your legs—not your back or arms.
- Most workplace injuries can be prevented or lessened if caught and treated early.
You should see your doctor if you feel any indication of problems with your back or limbs.
How to avoid burns, cuts, and infections
It can be very rewarding to help so many people in different ways; however, in doing so, nurses are exposed to many possible injuries. Patients with contagious illnesses, along with sharp and hazardous tools, are only some of the risks that nurses face. Because they are exposed to larger than average numbers of harmful bacteria, simple cuts and abrasions can easily become infected. Here are some tips to help you avoid cuts, burns and infections:
- Be extremely cautious when handling sharp objects. Sharp and dangerous objects should be treated with respect.
- Needle stick injury. NEVER re-sheath a needle!
- Cover all cuts and abrasions, after cleaning, no matter how minor.
- In order to prevent breakdown that can lead to injury, all medical equipment should be properly cleaned and maintained at all times.
- Even something as seemingly harmless as a cup of hot coffee can be a danger if you are rushing.
Achieving your nursing degree and finding a nursing job is only the beginning of having a long and healthy career. More so with nursing than many other jobs, you must ensure that you take care of yourself as well as you take care of your patients!
Please share with us your nursing stories. Have you suffered any of these nursing injuries? How did it happen?