Nurses face a variety of hazards at the workplace, and any of these could lead to serious workplace injuries. Workplace injuries that may cause long-term effects often occur due to slip-and-fall accidents, needle pricks, exposure to hazardous materials, overexertion and violent incidents.
While the first three are self-explanatory, the last two require more explanation.
Constant physical labor, such as standing and walking without opportunities to rest, and lifting and resettling patients, leads to a high incidence of musculoskeletal disorders. In fact, overexertion is the most prevalent causes of nursing injuries in hospital settings, making up 45.6% of cases in 2016, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Often, there is not enough nursing staff to properly lift patients, so that bending, twisting and pulling is necessary. This puts a tremendous amount of stress on muscles, joints and spinal discs. The outcome is often serious injuries such as torn rotator cuffs and herniated discs, which typically require surgery, physical therapy and long-term care. These injuries require either an “injury by accident” or a “specific traumatic incident” to be covered under NC workers’ compensation law. Before a nurse gives a recorded statement about how he or she was injured, the nurse should get a free consultation from a workers’ compensation lawyer to go over the crucial details of how the injury occurred.
Violence in health care settings typically occurs due to one of two circumstances. First, patients may become violent due to an involuntary reaction to medical intervention, and that often causes a serious injury. Second, data shows that as community violence increases, it spills into emergency rooms and ambulances. Security staffing cuts in hospitals can result in patients bringing weapons into facilities undetected and becoming violent with staff.
Nurses should report and document the details of any workplace incident at the time it occurs.