Today’s post was written by guest author Kit Case from Causey Law Firm in Seattle, which is known for its advocacy for workers and issues in workers’ compensation.
Nurses have many challenges at work to consider, because healthy, happy people rarely have a need for regular nursing care or face a hospital or nursing home stay. Safety at work should be a priority for all, but it can be hard for nurses when needs are great, staffing is short, and the focus is on quality care for the patient and efficiency is important in a very hectic environment.
Did you know that “nursing personnel are among the highest at risk for musculoskeletal disorders”? That risk is right up there with the risk in professions like truckers, laborers, and other health care workers, according to the blog post below.
Examples of fixes for increased safety include a combination of increased staffing, more training for concerns like proper lifting techniques, and hospitals and institutions providing equipment that helps nurses and other health care workers avoid lifting challenges that lead to back problems.
If you or a loved one have been hurt at work, please contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. In addition, when you (and loved ones) need nursing care, please take the time to thank nurses for their help in an environment that is often challenging.
The American Nursing Association’s Handle with Care campaign seeks to educate, advocate, and facilitate change from traditional practices of manual patient handling to emerging, technology-oriented methods. The campaign seeks to highlight how safe patient handling produces benefits to patients and the nursing workforce. The ANA’s Handle with Care Fact Sheet provides the following thought-provoking data:
A Profession at Risk
- Compared to other occupations, nursing personnel are among the highest at risk for musculoskeletal disorders. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists RNs sixth in a list of at-risk occupations for strains and sprains that included nursing personnel, with nurses aides, orderlies and attendants (first); truck drivers (second); laborers (third); stock handlers and baggers (seventh); and construction workers (eighth).
- Additional estimates for the year 2000 show that the incidence rate for back injuries involving lost work days was 181.6 per 10,000 full-time workers in nursing homes and 90.1 per 10,000 full-time workers in hospitals, whereas incidence rates were 98.4 for truck drivers, 70.0 for construction workers, 56.3 for miners, and 47.1 for agriculture workers.
- Lower back injuries are also the most costly musculoskeletal disorder affecting workers. Studies of back-related workers compensation claims reveal that nursing personnel have the highest claim rates of any occupation or industry.
- Research on the impact of musculoskeletal injuries among nurses:
- 52 percent complain of chronic back pain;
- 12 percent of nurses “leaving for good” because of back pain as main contributory factor;
- 20% transferred to a different unit, position, or employment because of lower back pain, 12 percent considering leaving profession;
- 38 percent suffered occupational-related back pain severe enough to require leave from work; and
- 6 percent, 8 percent, and 11 percent of RNs reported even changing jobs for neck, shoulder and back problems, respectively.
One Possible Tool
The website idées créatives posted this elegant video of an automatic bed that could allow for patient repositioning and assist with moving into and out of the bed, shown in a nursing home or hospital setting.