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Psychological factors can contribute to nurses' injuries

Fair treatment on the job could help to reduce the risk of physical harm to New Jersey nurses, according to one study. Researchers found that when nurses feel that they provide more support to others than they receive, they are at a greater risk for on-the-job injuries. The study measured several types of support, including help at work, advice and guidance or expressions of concern or empathy. One professor said that the physical demands of nursing work can combine with psychological stresses to make the job more burdensome. Nurses may find that their muscle and joint pain is exacerbated by feelings of anger.

The study involved over 400 nurses from two hospitals and 29 different units. It aimed to study how psychological factors can contribute to workplace injuries and accidents. Because nurses work long, 12-hour shifts in a physically demanding profession that may require them to move and position heavy patients or equipment, they already face an escalated risk of on-the-job injuries. The researchers found that this issue is worsened when nurses feel unsupported at work.

Scientists noted that hospitals aiming to decrease injuries among nurses often focus on purely physical aspects of the job, such as installing lifts to help nurses move patients from beds to wheelchairs. However, they advised that addressing social factors of the job, such as ensuring fair shift distribution, appreciation and just wages, could also help to reduce the psychological stress that can elevate the risk of injury.

When nurses are injured, they may find themselves facing mounting medical bills and unable to return to work. In some cases, these injuries are related to dangerous practices in a hospital. A workers' compensation lawyer could help them seek the benefits that they deserve.

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