Nurses and other healthcare workers consistently top the Bureau of Labor Statistics' list of occupations most likely to suffer an on-the-job injury, and it's no wonder — nurses, medical assistants, and other healthcare professionals work dangerously long hours while caring for sick, injured, or even hostile individuals.
With nursing shortages in South Carolina and nationwide, the rate of nurses injured at work may end up getting worse before it gets better.
What are the top causes of injury in healthcare workers? Read on to find out.
Overexertion Injuries: Back Injuries, Muscle Sprains, and More
Nurses and other healthcare staff are expected to lift patients who are unable to move under their own power, whether they are moving them to a different area or simply re-positioning the patient to avoid discomfort.
While lifting or re-positioning a single individual may not seem like overexertion, imagine doing so potentially more than fifty times in ten hours. Then, multiply that by multiple days in a week, and years of experience.
"Overexertion injuries", such as serious back injuries or ankle or wrist sprains, are the most common on-the-job injury nurses and healthcare professionals face on a daily basis. They are especially common in experienced healthcare workers, who have been subjected to required repeated heavy lifting for years.
A healthcare worker who suffers a serious back injury on the job could be out of work for weeks while they recover, and many healthcare workers struggle to make ends meet while they heal.
Toxic Substances, Contaminants, Infectious Diseases, and Other Exposure Injuries
Every single individual working within a healthcare facility, whether it's a trained and experienced nurse or the office manager who greets patients at the door, is more likely to be exposed to serious infectious diseases or a toxic substance as a result of their job.
Simply due to the nature of their work, nurses and other healthcare professionals are more prone to developing occupational illnesses that could leave them out of work for some time recuperating from their illness, especially since nurses often provide essential care to immuno-compromised individuals who absolutely cannot be exposed to infectious disease without significant risk.
Bodily Injuries: Needle Stick Injuries, Slips and Falls, and Patient Violence
Did you know that one of the most common injuries nurses suffer is needle stick injuries? Needle stick injuries could leave healthcare workers exposed to serious blood borne diseases or other pathogens, and should always be treated as a serious possible cause of illness or injury.
Slips and falls are also common in hospitals, where even everyday hospital rooms may need continuous sanitation and surgical theaters nearly always provide the potential for slip and fall injuries at work.
Another incredibly common cause of workplace injuries for healthcare workers, and one that often goes unacknowledged, is patient violence. Registered nurses have repeatedly called on OSHA to develop new legislation to protect healthcare workers from patient violence, but in the meantime nurses and medical assistants are often still the first line of defense when attempting to calm violent patients and keep them from causing harm to others.
This leaves nurses and other healthcare professionals vulnerable to serious workplace injuries caused by patient violence.
Are You a Healthcare Worker Injured on the Job in South Carolina?
You have options. Bluestein Attorneys has experience working with injured South Carolinians seeking Worker's Compensation from many different industries, including healthcare. We'll stand beside you to fight for your ability to recover costs associated with your on-the-job injury or illness and treatment.
Request your FREE Worker's Compensation Consultation by calling (803) 779-7599 or contact us online by clicking the banner below.