Nurses committed to provide the highest standard of care for their patients put themselves on the front lines, accepting the risks and outright dangers inherent in their daily duties. Year after year, a countless number of these dedicated and diligent professionals are victims of workplace hazards.
Data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) revealed close to 20,000 nonfatal injuries and illnesses to nurses nationwide. Three million RNs are continuously exposed to workplace hazards, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The significant possibility of serious injuries
Nursing requires medical professionals who are quick on their feet, often resulting in overexertion from bending and twisting, the most significant factor in nursing injuries.
Nearly 50 percent of injuries can be traced back to the following nursing activities:
- Repetitive strain
- Excessive physical effort
- Repetitive motion
Specific injuries include:
- Slips, trips and falls caused by wet floors account for approximately 20 percent of injuries, a common problem caused by routine cleaning
- Back injuries that account for nearly 40 percent that can result in significant time away from work. Lifting patients and carrying heavy materials are the most common activities associated with this type of physical damage.
- Violent actions from patients can also sideline the most promising of nursing careers. Once rare, assaults continue to increase. In addition to physical injuries, many nursing professionals experience trauma from the incidents, resulting in depression post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For some nurses, the possibility of assaults force them to seek out new career opportunities.
While nurses can take proactive steps to prevent injuries, the hectic nature of hospitals can cause serious injuries without warning. Yet, many of these dedicated medical professionals are fully aware of the risks, maintaining their commitment to the highest standards of patient care.