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Workplace hazards in nursing and their effects on the job

While the profession may look different from one role to another, depending on their assignments, many nurses are at risk simply by showing up for their daily shifts. These hazards can impact everyday job duties and, in many ways, even put nurses out of work for extended periods. If you are a nurse putting in demanding hours for the sake of the others' health, it may help you to understand the various ways hazards may affect you and your profession in the long-term.

Some reports show that the nursing industry has the most frequent work absences due to illness or injury. So, what are these common hazards and how are they influencing such a vital healthcare role? Regarding the physical toll the job can take, nurses often deal with:

  • Manual lifting of equipment and patients
  • Walking and standing for long shifts, sometimes 10 or 12 hours
  • Frequent actions involving awkward positions

Conditions may develop over time from such tasks, impeding your ability to work and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Furthermore, in violence-prone positions such as those in psychiatric wards and geriatric units, nurses may also endure serious injuries that lead to short or long-term disabilities.

Much more than a physically draining position

In addition to the potential for physical injury, there are everyday risks of infectious disease or chemical exposure. Common related hazards you likely encounter include:

  • Exposure to radiation and chemicals from sterilizing agents
  • Moderate or severe dermatitis
  • Exposure to serious diseases like tuberculosis, HIV and others

The dangers you face as a nurse can bleed into your everyday duties. Regular bouts of fatigue or intense headaches could affect the focus necessary for you to take care of others. You may also find that back problems have made you unable to provide proper care for your patients.

While not all nurses experience debilitating conditions or injuries on the job, understanding the spectrum of potential hazards may help prepare you for the future. Additionally, your employer should be taking the proper measures to ensure a safe environment and promote a healthy lifestyle.

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