Safety Issues in Nursing
It is, no doubt, a given fact that nursing is one hazardous job. Every day we go into battle to help save lives, in the process risking our health as we become exposed to a wide array of diseases and viruses. According to Health Care Workers Unprotected, a new report by Public Citizen, healthcare workers beat out manufacturing workers for the “most injured” title. As persons who are known to promote health and wellness, how do we protect our own selves?
Dangers in nursing
Nursing is a demanding profession. It does not only bring about physical stress, but it can also drain you emotionally and mentally. As what has been said earlier, while nurses are part of a profession that helps save lives, they are also constantly putting their health at risk. Below are some of the dangers nursing face every day according to studies:
Healthcare workers account to a higher percentage when it comes to workplace injuries than any other industry. According to certain studies, nurses encounter more than 35,000 injuries a year to their feet, hands, shoulders and back.
- Blood-borne pathogens
Though there are actions that reduce the risk of exposure of nurses to pathogens such as the use of glove and having hand-hygiene guidelines, there still exists the threat of needle sticks and splashes.
- Hand-washing related dermatitis
The important of hand hygiene is oftentimes stressed in healthcare, however a study published in February found hospitals’ hand-washing protocols may increase nurses’ risk of dermatitis, which in turn creates a greater risk of infection.
As nurses administer due medications to patients with varied conditions, they are at risk of acquiring needlestick and sharp injuries as well as infectious risks brought about by such.
Nurses are victimized by workplace violence too. According to Healthcare Workers unprotected, forty-five percent of all workplace violence incidents that result in lost workdays involve healthcare workers.
Addressing safety issues in nursing
Certain organizations have made their move in order to address these safety issues concerning nurses. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), for example, announced augmented scrutiny of hospitals’ safety precautions.
The American Nurses Association, also, recently released a set of inter-professional safe patient handling and mobility standards.
Specifically, factors related to the likelihood of physical injuries were identified such as age and hospital environment. Safe patient handling protocols have been proposed by a number of hospitals in order to reduce nurse injuries. The Department of Veterans Affairs recognized such a program so as to avoid injuries from manually lifting patients and reduced injuries by 30 percent at Jerry L. Pettis Memorial Medical Center in Lorna Linda, California. Proper body mechanics should also be emphasized.
As for blood-borne pathogens, it has been proposed that clinicians are cautious during the care delivery process and must wear proper protective eye gear.
Health care workers’ exposure to hepatitis and HIV as a result of needlestick and sharps injuries are preventable. The first step identified in preventing infection with blood-borne pathogens is the eradication of unnecessary injections and unnecessary sharps.
As we aim for the fast recovery of our patients, it is also important that nurses keep tabs on their health. Nurses must not underestimate the impact of using protective gear and observing safety guidelines. Yes nurses care, but as people who advocate for health and are aware of the, we must do it wisely.