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Missouri Sunset

Patient handling is a real danger for nurses

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Posted on December 18, 2017

Nursing can be a rewarding but stressful profession. For many of these professionals, the hours are long and the demands great. In fact, many patients do not realize a danger many nurses face every day: physically handling patients. That is, lifting and moving them. The risk is so great that nursing ranks right up there among the most dangerous jobs for musculoskeletal health.

In ideal situations, equipment would be used to help move patients. It helps them retain more dignity, prevents awkwardness and reduces the likelihood of accidents such as being dropped. However, the reality is in that in many cases, nurses are the ones who shoulder the burden of lifting, and their bodies feel the strain. Often, they must seek treatment and miss work.

Workers compensation

Many nurses who suffer lifting injuries use workers compensation for times when they cannot work. This program helps them get treatment and stay afloat, and it does not necessarily preclude filing a personal injury claim.

Of course, some nurses do not seek the compensation they could get or delay it for a long time. This is due to many reasons such as workplace culture. For example, a hospital could have a culture of “suck it up,” in which nurses and other medical personnel are expected to accept physical ailments and to work through them, with managers firing people who speak up. Some nurses may not even realize they could qualify for workers compensation. Also, it is common for nursing professionals to work for years with back pain that gradually becomes worse and to think there is nothing they can do because they did not document or report the pain at first.

It is true that recording and reporting an injury is important. However, nuances exist in essentially every situation, and a nurse should never assume he or she cannot seek compensation.