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How much are nurses at risk for suffering neck or back injuries?

A study published in the journal Disabling World in 2015 captured how at least 9,000 patient nurses or medical caregivers in the United States suffer disabling injuries on the job every day.

The researchers working on the study determined that 38 percent of the injuries that nurses suffer each year are back injuries. They found that this results in at least 12 percent of nurses leaving their profession each year. This may partially explain why there has been a shortage of nurses in recent years.

Data shows that nurses and other caregivers are most vulnerable to hurting their backs when lifting or transferring patients. Many also suffer cumulative injuries or injuries that result from repeated lifting on daily basis for several years.

The National Institute of Occupational Safety (NIOS) has established weightlifting limits for workers in this field, but many fail to adhere to it. Others don’t have much of a choice. Those caregivers who work at night as part of skeleton crews often don’t have anyone to call to help with lifting a patient.

Research shows that when nurses and medical aides create and use lift teams when transferring or lifting patients, their risk of injury goes down. In fact, researchers observed workers who used this approach for an entire year. The number of light-duty or restricted duty days that they needed went down by more than 361 percent by using this approach.

Teaching Pennsylvania nurses and nursing aides how to become effective members of a lift team requires some training, especially in how to use the latest modern mechanical lifts. Dauphin employers can also help caregivers minimize their risk of injury by revisiting their lifting and transferring procedures and enforcing them.

Nursing is a very physical career, and neck and back injuries are so debilitating that they can make it difficult for those who are hurt to remain gainfully employed. Certain instances call for filing for workers’ compensation claims, whereas others may require you to apply for Social Security Disability (SSD). If you’re not sure how to handle your case, then a workers’ compensation attorney can point you in the right direction.

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