Nurses face a high risk for injuries and illness in New Jersey and throughout the country, but there are 10 steps that they can take to reduce the risk. It all starts with what they do outside of work. Adequate sleep and good self-care are the first two steps. By taking care of themselves, nurses can be more attentive to what they do and more immune to certain illnesses.
The number one way to prevent illness is for nurses to wash their hands. Fourth, they should be vaccinated for influenza, the most common illness that they can catch. It’s also easily transmitted to patients and peers through coughing and sneezing. Fifth, nurses must stay up to date on immunizations for other conditions like hepatitis B and measles, mumps and rubella.
Injuries range from ergonomic injuries, which can be caused by repetitive motions or heavy lifting, to needlestick- and sharps-related injuries. The next three steps are meant to prevent these injuries: practice good body mechanics, use lift and transfer devices and practice the safe handling of needles. In general, nurses should watch out for any and all hazards, including fall hazards.
Wearing personal protective equipment, such as gloves, gowns and eye protection, is a must for nurses. Lastly, nurses should not be afraid to step up or speak up when there’s a violent patient or other incident that they need assistance with.
Under workers’ compensation law, injured nurses are eligible to receive benefits that pay for all their medical expenses and even provide a portion of the wages they lost during their recovery. Additional compensation can be awarded to those who incurred a temporary or permanent disability that affects their chances of working at their previous capacity. Those who intend to file a workers’ comp claim may want a lawyer to help them. If the employer denies payment, the lawyer may be able to assist with the appeal.