Preventing back injury for nurses

Nurses often have to perform physical demanding tasks, especially if they’re working in a hospital setting. This is why many nurses experience ongoing back pain. If you work as a nurse in North Carolina and have back pain, it may count as a significant work injury.

How common are back problems in the nursing field?

An American Nurses Association fact sheet reveals that RNs are ranked fifth for occupations that pose an increased risk of significant work injury such as sprains and muscle strains. This ranking was higher than construction workers and stock handlers. A workers’ compensation study revealed that nurses also have the highest claim rates of any industry.

Almost 50% of nurses have seriously considered leaving the field because their jobs take such a toll on their bodies. This percentage increases to 60% for nurses who have experienced job-related injuries or pain.

How do back injuries happen?

Improperly lifting and transferring equipment or patients are among the main reasons for back pain for individuals in the nursing field, according to the Florida Back Institute. Nurses also have to quickly change a patient’s position to prevent injury and falling at times, which can lead to back pain and muscle strain.

These movements can’t be completely avoided, but there are a few things nurses can do to prevent a significant work injury. Proper body mechanics, such as bending at the knees when lifting objects, can help prevent back pain. Using a transfer board or asking for assistance when lifting a patient can lower the chances of injury as well. It is also important for nurses to keep patients or objects close to their centers of gravity when lifting.

If you have acute or ongoing back pain due to your occupation as a nurse, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation. This may help pay for treatment and even lost wages if you need to miss work due to your injury.

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