Nurses have demanding jobs. They’re required to be on their feet for long hours helping care people who suffer from illness, diseases and injuries. As rewarding as the job may be, it can take its toll both physically and mentally.
The physical and mental toll nurses endure can lead to injury. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the 10-year period from 1995 to 2004, approximately 800,000 U.S. nurses suffered injury on the job, accounting for five percent of all work injuries in the country. In addition, nursing had the third highest rate of injury; the only industries that reported more in this same time period were truck drivers and laborers.
The Four Types of Nursing Related Injuries
According to Richmond Workers’ Compensation attorney, Michelle Lewane, there are four types of injuries that nurses typically suffer from.
Since nurses are required to move, lift and carry patients on a regular basis (and often at awkward, uncomfortable angles), back injuries are very common in the industry. Overexertion, stress, and repeated heavy lifting can cause injuries such as muscle tears, tendon strains, herniated discs, sprains, and overall soreness.
The rising rate of obesity among patients coupled with staffing shortages has put added pressure on nurses, forcing them to lift heavier people, and to work more often than they would have in recent years. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the nursing industry reports the highest amount of work-related back pain among female workers. The CDC also states that an estimated 12 percent of nurses leave the profession entirely, citing a back injury as the reason.
Not only do nurses work long hours, they also have important jobs; the lives of others are in their hands. They have regular, daily contact with patients in pain or under traumatic circumstances. They regularly see patients die in their own hands, or after developing a long-standing, caregiver relationship with them. These situations can have serious effects on the mental standing of a nurse, causing headaches, trouble sleeping, anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue, and other psychological issues.
Slip and Fall Injuries
Slips and falls occur due to a spill or slick spot on the floor, improper footwear, or just being in a hurry. While sometimes these can leave the victim unscathed, often the fall results in serious work injury, particularly to the knees and ankles. Tendon and muscle strains to the knees and ankles can be very painful and take extensive time to heal, causing a nurse to be unable to work for a prolonged period of time.
Needle Stick Injuries
According to the American Nursing Association, 64 percent of nurses say they experienced a prick by a syringe or needle while on the job. While these pricks may cause a small puncture wound or a little bleeding, that’s not the full extent of the danger. Needle sticks come with serious possibilities of infections and blood borne pathogens if a syringe has been used already. This puts the nurse at risk for HIV and other serious conditions.
Seek Legal Assistance for Your Injury
Your health is just as important as your patients’, so seek the retribution you deserve if you are a victim of a nursing injury. You can seek damages for the cost of your medical care, time out of work, and possibly for the emotional and mental suffering you’ve endured.
If you’re a nurse and you suffered a work injury, consider filing a claim for Workers’ Compensation. Call 804-755-7755 or 877-755-7744 to speak to a Richmond Workers’ Compensation attorney at the Injured Worker’s Law Firm today. Check out our book, The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia, to learn more.