Nurses in Minnesota and around the country are prone to many occupational hazards, including contracting deadly blood-borne infections from needlesticks or back or joint problems. Therefore, you should always aim to protect yourself at work at all times. Let us look at some of the ways to do so, stemming from the common injuries nurses face today.
Your rights as a health care worker
Before we discuss prevention techniques, you should know that, as a nurse, you are eligible for workers’ compensation for any injury that you get. It doesn’t matter whether you were at fault or not.
Common injuries and how to avoid them
- Overextension and body injuries – Develop a better understanding of your working environment and conditions. For example, don’t lift heavy or move heavy patients. Instead, use equipment or ask a colleague to assist you.
- Fall, slip and trip injuries – Prevent these injuries by eliminating factors that contribute to them. For instance, use slip-resistant shoes and remove any walking obstacles on your way, like chords.
- Injuries from violent people – It would be best if you always spoke up against any form of violent behavior towards you. This can come in any form: threats or physical violence from anyone, including visitors, patients, other employees or employers. You can also sue someone for any suffering or inconveniences caused that workers’ compensation does not cover.
- Equipment injuries – Practice safe needle handling at all times. Moreover, the Federal Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act requires institutions to enquire frontline workers when making needle purchasing decisions. Therefore, if you feel like a needle or any other equipment endangers you, you have a right to ask for something else that could work better.
- Exposure to harmful substances or environments – Be very vigilant to avoid exposure to any harmful substance like medications, sterilants, volatile organic compounds, chemicals and any other substances that puts you at risk. Wear personal protective gear, get vaccinated or immunized against pathogens and clean your hands often.
To build a long and rewarding career as a nurse, always remember to make your safety a priority. Adhere to all the guidelines, and if you need any professional guidance on your rights, you should always seek it.