Preventing Work Related Injuries and Disability Among Nurses

Having been regularly representing registered nurses, nursing assistants and medical assistants who work for major hospitals and other healthcare facilities in California, including such groups as Kaiser, Stanford Hospitals, and Sutter Health, I see the same patter of work related injuries over and over. A nurse or an assistant is lifting a patient or moving a heavy object, causing an injury to his/her wrist or back, which often requires time of work, prolonged treatment and even a surgery. Some of those wrist/arm and back problems never go away and force the nurses to switch their jobs altogether.

As simple and as obvious as it might sound, strengthening the major groups of muscles in your back and arms/wrists by regularly working out, and just as importantly – having a brief stretching and warm up routine for the muscles and joints you use the most at work can take you a long way toward preventing those injuries. If, for instance, tennis players take their warm-up of their arms, legs and back so seriously in order to prevent injuries associated with sudden weight or impact, so should nurses and their staff do. While strengthening muscles and 5 – 10 minute warm-up before the shift will not guarantee an injury-free career, these simple steps will likely significantly reduce the frequency and gravity of the symptoms associated with pushing, pulling and lifting heavy objects.

Preventing or minimizing a risk of injury might require a degree of diligence and discipline from you, but it is surely a better option than dealing with the pain resulting from those injuries, and disability issues at workplace that may arise as a result.