There are many reasons why nurses have difficult jobs. Besides having to be emotionally supportive of patients, they also have to be physically present and supportive in a visceral way. They work long hours, and they may not get all the breaks they deserve.
There are a number of reasons why nurses are likely to get hurt on the job. Four common reasons include:
- Maneuvering on stairs, with or without patients, can lead to falls
- Heavy lifting can be overpowering and cause back strain
- Illness and needle sticks can pose a threat to health
- Exhaustion can lead to accidents
Here is a little more about each of these situations and why they're so dangerous.
1. Maneuvering on stairs
Whether you're helping a patient walk or are carrying items to the next floor, slipping on a staircase is a possibility. With the weight of a patient relying on you to guide them, there is a high risk that they could trip or stumble. Anything that pushes you off balance could lead to a fall. Consider taking elevators whenever possible to eliminate this risk.
2. Heavy lifting
Heavy lifting is a problem many nurses can't avoid. Patients must be moved from wheelchairs to their beds, for example, and this does have a potential to hurt your back. Resist injury by using the right lifting techniques and seeking help when possible.
3. Needle sticks and illness
There is no question that hospitals are a place where illnesses are in abundance. If you're stuck with a patient's needle or intravenous line, you could end up becoming ill yourself. Always follow proper protocol, and ask for assistance if a patient is resistant to allowing you to complete your job.
Perhaps the most damaging problem of all is exhaustion. Nurses who work long hours and who do not sleep properly are at a higher risk of making mistakes. Those mistakes could be minor, like stumbling in the hallway, or they could be something as serious as falling asleep behind the wheel on the way home from work. If you're too exhausted to perform your duties, tell others. You have to take care of yourself first.
These are four common reasons why nurses get hurt on the job. Remember, you can't help others if you're hurt or too exhausted to help yourself. You have to do all you can to prevent injury in the workplace and to report an injury immediately if it happens.