It goes without saying that nurses spend most of their day doing whatever it takes to provide patients with a high level of care. Unfortunately, this devotion often leads a nurse to overlook his or her own personal level of health and safety.
There is no way for nurses to completely avoid the health risks associated with their profession. Even so, with knowledge of the most common health risks, it's much easier to avoid a situation that results in injury and/or illness.
Here are three health risks that every nurse should be aware of:
- Musculoskeletal injuries. Think about the many tasks you perform throughout your day as a nurse. From lifting to pulling, from pushing to bending, you're always on the move. Thanks to this activity, you're at a greater risk of suffering a muscle-related injury, such as to your back or neck.
- Needle stick injuries. You're always in close proximity to needles and other sharp objects. Even when you do your best to prevent trouble, one mishap could result in your being stuck. Some of the best ways to avoid trouble include: instituting proper safety precautions, using oral medications when appropriate and relying on needleless IV systems when applicable.
- Hazardous medications and wastes. Throughout your day, it's possible you could be in close contact with a variety of hazardous medications and toxic wastes. For example, this comes into play when administering medication to a patient or transporting waste from one area to the next. Fortunately, through the use of protective gear, you can all but eliminate the risk of exposure.
There are many benefits of working as a nurse, including the ability to help people. One of the biggest downfalls is the many health risks associated with the profession.
If you are injured on the job, don't hesitate to report the incident to your supervisor and receive immediate medical care. Even though you're a nurse, you should never assume you can treat yourself.
Once you understand your injuries and what they mean to your future, you can decide if you need to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits.