Nurses form the backbone of our healthcare system. Their roles are demanding, requiring physical exertion, emotional resilience, and sharp problem-solving skills. Unfortunately, with these responsibilities comes a significant risk for workplace injuries. Understanding what these risks are is the first step in addressing and hopefully mitigating them to ensure safer workplaces for those that work so tirelessly to maintain our health.
Common Injuries Nurses Face
Nursing is a physically demanding profession that exposes individuals to a variety of workplace injuries. Some of the most common ones include:
Frequent heavy lifting, moving patients, and spending the majority of their shift standing puts nurses at high risk for musculoskeletal injuries. This includes back injuries, sprains, and strains, amongst others.
Needle Stick and Sharps Injuries
Handling needles and other sharp instruments on a regular basis means accidents can happen – like needle sticks – which could potentially expose nurses to serious diseases.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
The constant rush in hectic hospital environments leads to hazards like spills and clutter which can unfortunately result in slips or falls, causing mild to severe injuries.
Exposure to Infectious Diseases
Due to their close proximity with patients who have infectious diseases, nurses often run the risk of exposure. This can potentially lead not only to their own illness but also spreading the infection within community spaces if not appropriately addressed.
Workplace violence is another issue faced by nurses. Patients or visitors can become agitated and aggressive, leading to physical assaults and causing injuries to attending nursing staff.
Stress and Overexertion
Long shifts, high workloads, limited breaks – a nurse’s daily schedule often leaves little room for rest. Chronic stress and overexertion can result in physical ailments as well as trigger or amplify mental health problems such as anxiety or depression.
The nursing profession demands unwavering dedication, but it should not compromise a person’s health. If you’re a nurse experiencing workplace injury, legal support is available to help protect your rights and seek rightful compensation.
Steps To Take After a Workplace Injury
In the unfortunate event of a workplace injury, it’s important for nurses to know what steps they should take immediately following the incident:
Immediate Medical Attention
No matter how minor an injury may seem initially, ensure that you seek immediate medical attention. This shows that your health is being taken seriously and is helpful when attempting to file claims for compensation.
Thoroughly document everything about the circumstances leading up to the accident and how it occurred. Also obtain witness contact information and keep track of medical expenses and necessary treatment you’ve had to undergo.
Report Your Injury
It’s vital to report your injury to a supervisor, manager, or the relevant department in charge. Be sure to do this as soon as possible and no later than 30 days after the occurrence of an accident as required by Washington D.C. workers’ compensation laws.
“You are required by law to promptly report your injury by filing DCWC Form 7, Employee’s Notice of Accidental Injury or Occupational Disease, with your employer and the Office of Workers’ Compensation (OWC) within thirty (30) days of the date of injury or the date you have knowledge that the injury is related to your job.”
Contact an Experienced Washington, D.C. Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Working with an experienced Washington, D.C. workers’ compensation attorney is highly recommended in these situations, as they have extensive knowledge on how to seek recourse. They will do everything in their power to ensure you get the benefits and compensation you’re entitled to.
Workplace injuries, particularly for those in high-risk professions like nursing, can be overwhelming. Ensuring you’ve taken appropriate steps to protect your rights is key to navigating the aftermath of such an incident. At Lightfoot Law Firm, our experienced attorneys are ready and committed to guide you through this process. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.