The nursing profession is forecast to continue growing. Demand for qualified individuals is increasing as the largest swath of the population – Baby Boomers – continues to age and require more medical care.
Nurses tend to face some of the most difficult working conditions. Constantly dealing with demanding doctors and patients can take a physical and emotional toll. The conditions nurses may have to work under can also spawn injuries. If you currently work as a nurse or have thought about becoming one, keep your eye out for these three dangers to avoid harm.
1. Exposure to viruses and diseases
The most common danger for nurses, whether they work in a hospital, clinic or doctor’s office, is exposure to viruses and diseases. Because dealing with the sick is what the job calls for, it makes sense that the rate of infection is fairly high, especially for things like:
- Bacterial infections
Practicing proper handwashing and safety precautions, like wearing gloves and face shields, can help reduce the risk of transmission. Staying current on vaccines also reduces the risk of infection.
2. Back injuries
Nurses carry a lot of the load when it comes to patient care. They often need to move patients from one bed to another, from a wheelchair to a bed or after toileting. Lifting patients may cause severe injury. The most common area of the body affected is the back. Nurses can easily strain muscles or cause disc herniation (or worse) when trying to perform lifting maneuvers solo. Thus, finding a partner or two to perform a team lift may save you from serious harm.
3. Needle punctures
Mishandling of hypodermic needles can cause serious harm to anyone who befalls a stick. Diseases can transmit with a single prick. Even the most seasoned professional can fall victim to a mishandled needle due to patient movement or poor timing. Dispose of needles as soon as possible to avoid an accident.
Few careers provide the amount of satisfaction that nursing does. Protecting yourself against common dangers is integral to your health and safety for years to come.