Workplace injuries among new nurses

Pennsylvania residents may be familiar with research detailing how workers in the health care industry tend to suffer a high rate of workplace injuries. The RN Work Project recently looked into the workplace hazards faced by nurses, and their findings were published by the International Journal of Nursing Studies. The data was collected by sending a 100 question survey to nurses.

The RN Work Project study discovered that the highest injury rate was found among new nurses. The most common type of injuries observed were sprains and strains suffered while moving patients and needle-stick injuries suffered while medications were being introduced to IV tubes. The study found that needle-stick injuries occurred more often among nurses who work night shifts and nurses under the age of 30. Researchers believe that the grueling schedules worked by new nurses and their heavy workloads likely contributed to their increased risk of injury.

The high injury rate among nurses has not gone unnoticed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The agency has announced plans to reduce the number of health care workers suffering on-the-job injuries by cracking down on hospitals and clinics and fining medical facilities that fail to implement required safety protocols. OSHA officials say that they will pay particular attention to injuries associated with lifting and moving patients.

Health care professionals in Pennsylvania who suffer an injury while at work may apply for benefits under the state’s workers’ compensation program. Benefits provided by the program are designed to help injured workers to pay their medical costs and cope financially as they recover. However, the confusing application process sometimes prevents injured workers from getting all of their benefits. Workers’ compensation hearings can also become contentious if employers and insurance companies claim that injuries were not suffered at work. A lawyer experienced in workers’ compensation could help with a claim.