Being a nurse is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding jobs you can have, but it is also incredibly difficult. The last year or so has brought that reality into sharp focus. In addition to the risks associated with COVID, nurses work long hours on their feet in an environment that can be full of emotional stresses and physical dangers. For nurses, injuries on the job are common, and nurses may need workers’ compensation benefits for injuries or illnesses related to work.
Following are some safety tips to help nurses avoid injuries on the job:
#1: Use safe lifting techniques
Many patients require lifting, and unsafe lifting techniques can put nurses at risk of serious musculoskeletal injuries. If you have ever had your back go out on the job, you know that it can happen suddenly after just one wrong move. Repetitive lifting and jerking can also result in painful back injuries.
If you need to move a patient, it’s important to use a lift device if one is available. The couple of extra minutes that it takes to secure a lift device could help you to avoid a slipped disc or other injury.
#2: Be aware of clutter
A work environment that is both cluttered and busy is a recipe for disaster. If you notice too many objects cluttering the room, take the time to organize them rather than just walking around and over them. Because you can’t always have full control over your work environment in nursing, it’s also important to wear supportive shoes and practice good body mechanics, especially if you need to maneuver around objects in the work environment.
#3: Get enough sleep
Getting plenty of sleep may be your single most effective injury-prevention measure. When you work long hours caring for other people, it’s easy to become physically and mentally exhausted. At the end of the workday, it’s crucial that you recharge your mind and body properly in order to prevent fatigue the next day. Fatigue has been linked to an increased risk of injury and can lead to poor decision making.
For more on getting the workers’ compensation you need after a job-related injury or illness, please see our Georgia workers’ compensation overview.