It's no secret that one of the most dangerous jobs is nursing.
In terms of career-ending injuries, nursing care ranks up there with construction, mining and the military.
Common nursing injuries
- Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are seven times more common in nursing than the average of all other professions.
- Repetitive stress injuries, including bursitis, tendinitis, rotator cuff injury, carpal tunnel, and epicondylitis.
- Back injuries such as herniated or slipped discs and back strain resulting from patient handling and unergonomic work situations
- Injuries caused by falls, and objects falling on them.
- Exposure to infected blood from needlesticks. One needle prick can lead to HIV/AIDS or Hepatitis B or C.
- Injuries caused by assault. Patients are sometimes violent, and nurses take the brunt of this abuse.
- Infections from patients, including MRSA. Infections can occur because of airborne pathogens or bodily waste.
The reason for many nursing injuries is simply that the much of the work is life-or-death and will not wait. It is compounded by issues of understaffing and insufficient training.
Nurses are trained in the right way to lift a patient. "Lift with the legs, not the back." But the plain truth is that the weight of many patients will cause injuries, no matter how it is leveraged.
The good news
Nurses and other healthcare workers are covered by workers' compensation, just like construction and mine workers. Employers are required insure workers so they are compensated when injured on the job - whether the injury occurs in a single moment or develops over years.
Employers can resist, and workers' compensation administrators can refuse to acknowledge your injury. That's when it's time to work with workers' comp lawyers who know how the system works, and will fight to see you fully compensated.