Nurses at high risk for workplace injury
When most California residents think about high risk occupations, they imagine fields such as construction and manufacturing. While these can certainly be dangerous places of employment, research suggests that these types of jobs do not top the list in rates of workplace injury. Nursing is believed to hold that dubious honor, according to The American Nurses Association.
It is believed that as many as eight out of 10 nurses report having worked while experiencing some form of back or joint pain. One reason why so many nurses are injured on the job may be staff reductions, which are a reality in many types of medical institutions across the nation. It is believed that when nursing staff are stretched thin, mistakes can be made that increase the risk of workplace injuries.
Nurse advocates assert that the best way to lower this risk is to provide an adequate level of staffing at all times. An official who holds the position of Occupational Health and Safety Representative for one state’s Nurses Association points to studies that say that when staffing levels go up, reports of nursing injures go down. These statistics have prompted some states to implement task forces and other measures aimed at addressing staffing issues.
For many in California, the issue hits home. Not only do nurses and other health care workers deserve a safe and supportive workplace, but inadequate staffing levels can lead to a serious public health matter. Nurses who are stretched beyond the optimal level of function can make a wide range of errors, including medication dosage mistakes, patient care lapses and improper documentation. All of these, in addition to the workplace injury risk mentioned above, make this an issue that deserves a greater level of attention.
Source: wrvo.org, “Nurses unions propose solution to injuries, patient safety“, Michelle Faust, Feb. 18, 2015