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Nurses suffer high incidence of workplace injury

Certain jobs are more dangerous than others, and it's well-known that certain industries are known for higher numbers of worker injuries. Particularly hazardous workplace accident statistics are found in such sectors as agriculture, construction trades and jobs that involve driving. Some people would find it surprising to know that a disproportionately high rate of workplace injuries occurs in the healthcare field, particularly for nurses and clinicians. This phenomenon is found in Colorado and nationwide.

The main culprit in causing on-the-job injury to nurses and clinicians is caused by the strenuous daily activity of having to move patients in their bed from one position to another, or from the bed to a chair, and so on. Hospital logistics do not assist in making these patient services easy to perform. Crowded areas around beds and patient areas make maneuvering difficult and often hazardous.

Furthermore, outmoded equipment is not adequate nor designed to assist in performing patient lifting. Some hospitals have purchased machines that actually lift the patient out of bed mechanically. These machines may be useful but hospital budgets often don't allow for state-of-the-art improvements. Older machinery intended to perform similar tasks have become outmoded and dysfunctional.

It's not uncommon, therefore, to see nurses and others who lift patients suffering from low back injuries, including herniated discs, pinched nerves and radiating pain and numbness in the appendages. The high frequency of these workplace injuries also leads to a high incidence of workers' compensation disputes and claim filings by nurses and related workers. Some hospitals, and their insurance carriers, are insincere in trying to claim that such back injuries occur at home or that they are a natural symptom of aging.

Whether in Colorado or elsewhere, employers should be recognizing and supporting nursing personnel to alleviate and take preventive measures to confront the problem of workplace injury. These vital workers have indicated in surveys that they need modern, updated machines for lifting and transporting patients. They also request realignment of furnishings and patient areas for easier maneuverability.

Source: TheGazette, Survey: Nurses, clinicians prone to work injuries, No author, Nov. 20, 2013

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