There are few career paths more worthwhile than those in health care. Unfortunately, working in the medical field can be just as dangerous as it is rewarding. In the United States, nurses in particular face a high risk for workplace injuries.
Registered nurses help create the backbone in North Carolina doctors’ offices, hospitals and other health care settings. Despite this, employers often overlook their safety. As a nurse, you need to be familiar with some of the most common work injuries for which you could be at risk.
Overexertion is one of the most commonly diagnosed nursing injuries. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics — BLS –reports that, in 2016, overexertion alone made up nearly 50% of all nursing injuries. Data from the BLS indicates that these are the most likely causes for overexertion injuries:
- Excessive physical effort
- Repetitive motions
Nursing is a highly physical job. As a nurse, your employer might require you to regularly move, lift or otherwise physically assist patients. Performing these actions or moving heavy equipment can easily lead to overexertion injuries.
After overexertion injuries, slips, trips and falls are the second most common source of nursing injuries. In 2016, they made up 25% of all injuries among registered nurses. A study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information — NCBI — found that employers can likely prevent many of the hazards associated with fall injuries.
Wet floors are a big risk factor for fall injuries. Liquid contamination can look a little different in a hospital though, and rather than just water on the floor, you might also find bodily fluids, gel or more. NCBI also found that nurses over the age of 50 have a higher chance of suffering a fall injury at work.
Acts of violence
You do everything you can as a nurse to help and care for your patients. Sadly, you have a high chance of suffering a violent injury simply for being in your position. Acts of violence from patients, their families or other individuals made up 12% of all nursing injuries in 2016. Nurses experience violent events at a rate three times higher than any other career.
As a nurse, it can be difficult to become a patient after suffering a serious injury. Focusing on your own health and well-being may have never been a priority in the past, but it certainly is now. Handling the financial side of recovering from workplace injuries is not always easy though, which is why many victims turn to benefits through North Carolina’s workers’ compensation system.