Have you ever forced yourself to go to work, even though you were ill? Most of us have done this at least once in our lives. There is a fancy word for this practice: presenteeism.
Nurses face the threat of many occupational injuries and illnesses. One of the most common of those threats is that posed by sharp instruments, including needles, scalpels, and other sharp instruments. The danger comes not so much from the actual puncture wound itself but from the possibility of contracting an infection such as HIV or hepatitis. Growing concern over the possibility of infections from bloodborne pathogens in the 1980s and 1990s led Congress to enact the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act (NSPA) in 2000.
Of the more than 45,000 nurses in Colorado, how many of them suffer work-related injuries every year? While a statistics-based answer would give an exact number, that number would not be helpful for two reasons:
In February 2015, National Public Radio (NPR) conducted a five-part investigative series on injured nurses and how hospitals have mistreated their injured healthcare workers when they suffer a workplace injury.
Imagine the dangers nurses face every day. Most people would picture open needles, biohazardous waste, wet floors, and angry patients. Surprisingly the biggest threat to nurses is lifting. In particular most nurses are injured on the job due to lifting patients who cannot walk.
"I can't change the laws of physics!," the character of Scotty famously told Captain Kirk in an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series.
Injuries commonly covered under workers' compensation, including back, neck and shoulder pain, continue to affect nurses throughout Colorado and the rest of the United States, according to a recent American Nurses Association (ANA) report. Almost 80 percent of nurses continue working despite pain caused by daily work activities, such as patient lifting and patient moving.