When people think about dangerous professions, nursing usually isn't at the top of the list. Most people imagine nurses having a secure and simple job. While nurses certainly do administer medication, talk to patients and help provide daily care for those in hospitals, they do so at great physical risk to themselves.
Sometimes, nurses must deal with distraught or psychotic patients who physically assault or threaten them. Other times, drugs or dementia may play a part in an injury sustained by a patient. However, it is far more common for nurses and nurse aids to sustain serious skeletal and soft tissue injuries in an attempt to help a patient who has mobility issues.
Hospital workers have a very dangerous career
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, hospital workers are more likely than even construction workers to suffer an injury on the job. Roughly 147.4 construction workers per 100,000 get injured at work every year. For hospital workers, that number is 157.5 per 100,000.
The most common forms of injury are overexertion and bodily reaction, which make up 48 percent of injuries, slips, trips and falls, which account for another 25 percent, contact with objects (13 percent), violence (9 percent) and exposure to substances (4 percent). Needle pokes when treating a patient with a blood-borne illness, for example, could result in contracting that illness. Other times, nurses could touch emergency defibrillators or get exposed to a medication or drug to which they are allergic.
Nurses are caring for much heavier patients
The average weight in the United States has gone up substantially over recent decades. Nurses and other medical professionals must now routinely care for people who weigh in excess of 300 pounds or even more. Lifting, moving and cleaning these patients is part of daily care, regardless of size. Unfortunately, that puts a lot of strain on the limbs and backs of those who provide medical care.
All it takes is one wrong move when helping a patient who has fallen to severely injure the back. Other nurses may sustain serious repetitive stress injuries from the daily strain of lifting and moving heavy patients.
Workers' compensation protects nurses hurt in the line of duty
Every day, nurses put their own well-being on the line to care for those who need it. They, in turn, deserve compensation for injuries that they sustain while on the job. No nurse should end up in financial trouble because he or she got injured or sickened while working.
Workers' compensation can offer benefits to nurses hurt while working, including wage replacement, medical coverage and more. In cases where an injury results in permanent disability, nurses deserve the coverage and compensation to offset their lost wages and lost career.