As a profession, nursing is associated with compassion and care towards patients. Unfortunately, nurses are not immune to injuries and often suffer from serious work-related injuries that can impact their ability to perform their duties effectively. Understanding the various injuries that can affect nurses and the role of workers’ compensation in D.C. is crucial for both nursing professionals and those who work alongside them.
The Physical Demands of Nursing
Nursing is an incredibly physically demanding profession. Not only are nurses constantly on their feet, but they also often find themselves lifting, transferring, and repositioning patients throughout their shifts. Additionally, the long hours and stress of nursing work can lead to fatigue, which increases the risk of injuries.
Common Injuries Suffered by Nurses
The demanding job of nurses comes with various occupational hazards, which often lead to severe injuries. Some of the most common injuries include the following:
Back and Neck Injuries: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, back injuries account for nearly 20% of all injuries reported by nursing assistants and orderlies. These injuries are often due to lifting, moving, and turning patients, which can result in strains, sprains, and even serious injuries like herniated discs or fractures.
Shoulder injuries: Nurses are often required to physically lift, transfer, and move patients, which can cause significant strain on their shoulders. These actions also cause them to contort their bodies into unnatural postures, further increasing their risk of shoulder injury.
Knee injuries: Due to the nature of their work, nurses often need to bend, squat, or kneel to reach items or to assist patients. Repeatedly performing these actions can cause strain on their knee joints and affect the surrounding muscles and ligaments.
Slips, Trips, and Falls: Due to the constantly active nature of their work, nurses are at an increased risk of slips, trips, and falls. Wet or slippery surfaces, poor lighting, or cluttered environments can cause mishaps and result in a variety of injuries, such as strains, sprains, or even fractures.
Needlestick and Sharp Injuries: Handling needles and other sharp objects is a common part of many nursing tasks, which puts these professionals at risk for cuts, punctures, and even infection from bloodborne pathogens. These injuries can result in a variety of complications, ranging from temporary to long-lasting effects.
Workplace Violence: Nurses can unfortunately become victims of workplace violence, whether from patients, visitors, or even coworkers. Emotional and physical trauma is often the result and can manifest as both short- and long-term effects on the nurse.
Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals: Nurses might come into contact with hazardous substances, such as cleaning agents or chemotherapy drugs, which can cause burns, respiratory issues, or other health problems.
Stress and Burnout: Mental health is just as important as physical health when discussing nurse injuries. Prolonged exposure to stressful environments, high workloads, and demanding schedules can lead to burnout and even physical manifestations such as headaches and insomnia. The severe consequences of stress and burnout highlight the need for healthcare organizations to prioritize nurse wellbeing and encourage stress-reduction practices, such as mindfulness exercises and therapy.
The Role of Workers’ Compensation in D.C.
In Washington D.C., workers’ compensation is essential for providing financial support and assistance to injured nurses. It helps cover medical expenses and lost wages resulting from work-related injuries, allowing these professionals to focus on their recovery. In some cases, workers’ compensation may also provide vocational rehabilitation services, helping nurses return to work in a timely and safe manner.
If you’ve been injured on the job, you have the right to obtain compensation and time off to help you recover. For help, contact our Washington, D.C. nurse workers’ compensation lawyers today to schedule a free consultation.