Workplace Injuray Can End A Nurse's Career
Nursing is never an easy job. It is a combination of mental and physical pressure. That is why nurses are required to be mentally and physically fit. However, the nursing job itself is a threat to the physical wellness of nurses. It has a spot on the top ten professions that are high risk for acquiring back injury.
Most back injuries in the nursing profession are not fatal but some of them are debilitating enough to end someone’s nursing career. Back muscle strain or muscle tear is common and majority of it is not that serious injury. On the other hand, spinal cord injury due to slip disc among nurses is rare but it can disable a nurse for a lifetime. Based on research studies, many nurses obtain the aforesaid back injuries out from lifting or transferring patients.
Moreover, a set of proper body positions and movements called body mechanics is used by health care providers when lifting or transferring patients in order to maintain safety on both parties. This is integrated in various nursing procedures that include providing assistance in letting the patient move from hospital bed to chair and vice versa; transferring from bed to wheelchair or from wheelchair to bed; repositioning the patient on bed; or helping the patient to stand and walk towards the bathroom, etcetera. It has been used by nurses, nursing assistants and other health care providers to prevent them from being injured (i.e. back strain, ankle sprain, slip disc, spinal cord injury) in handling the patient’s weight while rendering health care service and at the same time, keep the patients safe during procedures. Nurses are also aware about the principle that heavy patients must be moved, repositioned, assisted or transferred by at least 2 health care providers and even with the use of mechanical lifters. However, why do nurses still obtain various physical injuries at the workplace?
Indeed, nurses have knowledge on body mechanics and use of mechanical lifters. But, are all these skillfully applied? For instance, a heavy patient needs to be lifted and repositioned in bed but only one nurse is available to perform the task. Initially, the instinct of a nurse is to call other health care team members to aid her in doing such chore. However, many health care institutions are understaffed and usually fail to provide adequate work force to lend nurses a hand in doing patient transfer and positioning. Sometimes, nurses take risk to proceed with the procedure for the patient’s sake. Unknowingly, they are gambling the safety of the patient and their own physical wellness. In fact, there are reported incidents about nurses having their back muscles twitched or got slip disc and the double jeopardy is having patients fall from bed or chair during the procedure.
This is a wakeup call to nurses, other health care providers and hospital administrators that there is a need for an update on the latest lifting equipment and review on the efficient techniques in handling patients like body mechanics and its application on different procedures. This is not solely addressed to the nurses but to all health care professionals. Furthermore, workplace injury is one of the reasons why several nurses shifted to another path of career. On the other hand, will you just let any injury to stop you from doing what you love to do and enjoying your dream nursing career?