As a nurse, you spend a lot of time worrying about your patients’ well-being. When you’re so distracted thinking about other people, it’s easy to let your own safety take second place. However, nurses work in extremely hazardous environments, and it’s very easy to get injured on the job. What is the major contributing factor in nursing injuries?
Slow Down! How Carelessness Contributes to Nurses’ Injuries
When you’ve got a heavy patient load, it’s very tempting to take shortcuts to keep from falling behind. Don’t do it! Almost all workplace injuries could be avoided if nurses took the time to perform their assigned tasks carefully. The most common injuries can be avoided by taking a minute to think through the proper steps.
1. Slips, trips, and falls
Falls aren’t just a very common cause of injury for nurses; they are the most common cause of injury and death in any workplace. Nurses are forced to work around complicated medical equipment, and it’s not uncommon to have to do an intricate dance around electrical plug-ins, oxygen tubing, and IV poles in order to reach our patients. Staying aware of your surroundings will help you avoid dangerous accidents.
Helping patients to ambulate is a common cause of injury. When you’re in a hurry, it’s tempting to try to reposition or ambulate a patient without help. But, even when patients seem very small, it is easy to suffer a sprain or other overexertion injury if you’re trying to do everything yourself. You might have to wait a few extra minutes for help, but your back and legs will thank you.
3. Needle sticks
When you have a lot of medications to administer, being in a rush is dangerous both for you and your patient. Though nurses are usually conscientious about avoiding medication errors, they aren’t always so careful with their own safety. Basic safety techniques should be followed no matter what. Immediately throw all used needles into the sharps bin; if you are unable to do so, use a one-handed technique to recap the used needle. Using both hands makes it dangerously easy to stab yourself, potentially exposing yourself to bloodborne pathogens.
4. Improper use of PPE
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is a literal lifesaver, and it’s shocking how relaxed nurses can be about using it correctly. Standard precautions should be followed at all times, and transmission-based precautions should be used when needed. The few extra minutes you spend on each shift putting on a mask and gown when needed are vital for your safety.
Are you looking for a new job?
All nurses should make their personal safety one of their top priorities. At Liberty Healthcare Services, we are always looking for RNs with a great safety record. If you are interested in putting your skills to use at an exciting new facility, contact us today so that one of our recruiters can match you with a travel nursing position that is perfect for you.