I represent many folks who are injured while working in the healthcare industry. It is so sad to see how badly injured some people are-simply by doing their job and caring for others. I read a blog today from NPR that discussed how healthcare workers are suffering neck and back injuries in work accidents in record numbers. It is staggering how many people are injured in the healthcare field every year but what makes it worse is that many hospitals out there are using techniques that are considered to be outdated due to the advances in modern technology. Many hospitals simply are understaffed or underfunded and can’t afford to make the necessary updates to their facilities and training programs. Healthcare workers are paying the price!
Many people who are injured while working in healthcare suffer serious injuries and do not recover to the point that they can return to their job. If they are one of the lucky ones who do recover enough to go back to work, chances are they will likely get injured again – or they may not have a job to go back to.
I’ve listed a few interesting snippets I found within the blog:
“As NPR has reported in our investigative series Injured Nurses, nursing employees suffer more debilitating back and other injuries than almost any other occupation — and they get those injuries mainly from doing the everyday tasks of lifting and moving patients.”
“As NPR’s Injured Nurses investigation reveals, hospitals are not generally required to make their injury statistics public, so it’s difficult to compare them. NPR also found that officials at most hospitals across the country have failed to do much about the epidemic of back and other injuries that affect their nursing staff.”
“Nursing employees have very likely been getting hurt moving and lifting patients for as long as there have been nurses and patients. But studies by the U.S. government and university researchers in the 1990s began showing that hospitals can prevent many of those injuries, if hospital administrators invest enough time and money. They have to buy special equipment to move patients, such as powered ceiling hoists, and they have to conduct intensive training for the staff.”
You can find the entire blog here. If you work in the healthcare field, I strongly recommend reading this.
“Healthcare workers as a whole are more likely to experience a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) than workers in construction mining or manufacturing” (Centers for Disease Control).
I reviewed some information from www.nursingworld.organd from the American Nurses Association and it seems that most injuries are caused by patient contact; usually lifting a patient, re-positioning a patient, or even being attacked by an unruly patient.
Common Work Injuries in the Nursing Field
- Needle Stick Injuries (some resulting in infectious disease)
- Back Injuries
- Neck Injuries
- Shoulder Injuries
- Chemical Exposure
- Developing a Latex Allergy
Nurses especially need to be familiar with their employer’s policies and procedures when an injury occurs on the job. Do some research and find out who the injury should be reported to, where you can get medical care, who the workers’ compensation insurance company is, and any forms that need to be filled out. And as always, REPORT INJURIES RIGHT AWAY! I cannot tell you how many times I have been contacted by a nurse who did not report a minor pain in their back, neck, or shoulder only to find out later that something is seriously wrong. Don’t take that chance! Your future and your career may depend on it!
This is why you need to protect yourself! You can’t count on your employer to protect you so YOU NEED TO BE INFORMED! Make sure you know what steps to take if you get injured – who you need to report it to and where you can get medical care if your injury needs treatment. Knowing these things before an injury happens can make things go a lot smoother if you do get injured at work.