Patients cared for on the backs of nurses

Nurses and nursing assistants have difficult jobs that include long hours and intense physical activity. Caring for patients is strenuous work.

In fact, nursing is such a grueling occupation that its risk for workplace injury is often higher than many other occupations. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), hospitals in the U.S. recorded 6.8 work-related injuries and illnesses for every 100 full-time employees in 2011, almost twice the rate for the entirety of private industry.

Hospital recorded 58,860 work-related injuries and illnesses that caused employees to miss work. That means, in terms of lost-time case rates, hospitals are more hazardous workplaces than construction of manufacturing jobs.

The nature of the job

As nurses and nursing assistants are keenly aware of, hospitals pose unique risks when it comes to what makes the workplace so hazardous. Employees lift, reposition and transfer patients with limited mobility and need to react to unpredictable events by making split-second decisions. These professionals feel it is their ethical duty to “do no harm” to patients and will thus put their own safety at risk if it means helping a patient.

Among all the ways in which hospital workers are injured, 48 percent of injuries are due to overexertion and bodily reaction. This includes motions such as lifting, bending or reaching, which are often related to patient handling.

Nurses and nursing assistants would recommend their patients receive care for their injuries as soon as possible, but it’s not always easy to follow that advice. Nonetheless, seeking immediate treatment for any workplace injuries will help hospital workers get back to their patients as quickly as possible. It is possible to receive compensation for time lost and medical care, so the main focus nurses and nursing assistants should have is to get better.

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