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If you are among the many men and women who currently make a living as a nurse, you probably find at least some degree of fulfillment in working a job that allows you to help others in need. As rewarding as a career in nursing can be, however, it is not without inherent dangers, and nurses face a myriad of risks and workplace hazards specific to the nursing profession.
In addition to the emotional toll your nursing job may take on you, which may be exacerbated by long, irregular hours and a lack of sufficient sleep, many nurses face:
Persistent aches and pains
The duties of your job may require that you stand for long periods at a time, or that you regularly move heavy boxes, machinery or patients. Performing such tasks repeatedly over time – and particularly if you may not always rely on proper lifting techniques – can lead to persistent aches and pains, and this is a common problem for many of today’s nurses.
Exposure to dangerous substances or pathogens
The very fact that you regularly work around patients who are ailing places you at heightened risk of health problems, and as a nurse, you also face the risk of suffering exposure to blood-borne pathogens, as well as contagious or communicable diseases. In many cases, exposure to harmful substances occurs when nurses draw blood, or inject or suture patients.
Exposure to dangerous chemicals
While, as a nurse, you must protect yourself against possible exposure to diseases and pathogens, you must also take steps to guard against exposure to potentially dangerous chemicals. Certain drugs used to treat cancer patients, for example, can prove harmful to you, as can certain cleaning products and disinfectants.
Ultimately, your degree of on-the-job risk will depend on several factors, among them whether you and your employer closely follow all safety protocols. Getting enough sleep and making sure to rely on safe lifting techniques in the workplace may also lessen your injury risk.