Nurses have a crucial role in the U.S. healthcare system. Without them, hospitals would not be as effective as they are. The nurse’s work is extremely valuable, but it also comes with some risks. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) nurses have a higher-than-average incident rate of injury and illnesses. However, hospitals can prevent these injuries by imposing certain safety measures.
A nurse’s duty
The daily activities of nurses include moving and lifting patients, using needles and substances and constantly moving from one side of the hospital to the other. Nurses carry out various tasks during work, and some of these tasks can leave them injured. The nurses’ injuries are usually caused by:
- Excessive physical effort
- Falls, slips and trips
- Contact with objects or equipment
- Transportation incidents
- Exposure to harmful substances or environment
Sadly, nursing is the occupation that is the most exposed to violence, as nurses often deal with people who are delirious or under the influence of drugs. However, most of their injuries are not caused by violence but by excessive physical effort and falls. Their most common injuries are sprains, tears and strains.
How can hospitals prevent the most common injuries?
Excessive physical effort, falls and violence make up more than 82% of all causes of injuries among nurses. That is why hospitals and other health care facilities must impose safety measures to prevent them. The recommended safety measures for each problem are:
- Safe patient handling: to prevent excessive physical efforts, hospitals can install equipment to lift the patients, teach nurses how to use it and establish minimal-lift policies.
- Maintaining well-documented housekeeping procedures: hospitals can prevent slips and falls by ensuring correct floor cleaning, proper usage of mats and signs and encouraging workers to promptly report and clean spills.
- Guidelines to prevent workplace violence: hospitals can prevent violence by having adequate security personnel, preventing long waits for patients in uncomfortable waiting rooms and restricting the movement of the public in the hospitals.
A nurse’s hospital or health care facility must assess the workplace safety needs, enhance safe patient handling programs and implement safety management systems. Otherwise, their nurses can be at constant risk of an injury.
A hospital’s best interest
If a health care facility does not establish the necessary safety measures, they will pay the price for their mistake in many ways. In the event of an injury, the hospital will have to compensate the injured nurse for their lost wages and medical costs. Additionally, they must pay overtime and temporary staffing to replace the nurse while they are gone. Ultimately, nurse’s injuries are bad for everyone, and that is why hospitals must prevent them.