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Common ways you can get hurt while caring for the ill or injured

If you are a healthcare professional, taking care of patients around the clock can put a strain on your body. While medical facilities are supposed to be a place of healing, nursing staff are at risk of suffering injuries on the job.

With staffing shortages, faulty equipment and a variety of patient needs, you may experience a great deal of stress, both on your mind and your body, while working as a registered nurse (RN), licensed practical nurse (LPN) or nursing assistant (NA). In addition, exposure to dangerous contagious illnesses, working long shifts without adequate rest and demanding patients are often part of your daily experience.

Common injuries among nursing staff

While the situation surrounding your injury may be unique and unexpected, there are three common ways nursing staff suffer injuries on the job. These include:

  • Abuse - Especially common in nursing homes, you may experience abusive actions in working with patients who experience any of the various forms of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease. Though many people become agitated in a hospital situation, these patients may not be able to control their aggressive actions, such as hitting, biting and verbally abusive remarks.
  • Needle sticks - In working with needles, you may prick your skin on a regular basis. Though you may not make yourself bleed badly, that is not the only issue to consider when you are working with patients carrying infectious diseases and deadly viruses. As you draw blood or insert an intravenous (IV) drip, an occupational hazard may include exposure to blood-borne viruses such as hepatitis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
  • Back injuries - Not only are you on your feet all day, but you are also turning and twisting, often lifting patients heavier than yourself. When you're assisting or transferring patients, you do everything you can to keep them from falling. But, pulling a muscle in your back can put you at risk of serious injury, especially if you continue to fulfill your job expectations without receiving medical attention yourself. Not only that, but once you have suffered a back injury, you also put your patients at risk.

In the event that you suffer injuries while performing your job duties, you may be eligible to receive workers' compensation. A lawyer experienced in helping people with injuries sustained while on the clock can help you understand your options, so you can make informed decisions.

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