You do not work on a construction site, but you recognize that your job as a nurse exposes you to specific workplace hazards. Do you need a refresher on those risks?
American Sentinel College of Nursing & Health Sciences at Post University explores various facets of hazards in a medical setting. By understanding your workplace risks, you know how to protect yourself and understand when your employer may bear responsibility for your harm.
Common physical hazards
Physical hazards are one of the biggest workplace risks for nurses, which could increase their chances of suffering musculoskeletal disorders. Common work responsibilities that expose medical professionals to such risks include standing and walking for extended periods, lifting and repositioning patients and working in uncomfortable positions.
Where a nurse works in a health care facility may increase a nurse’s risk of suffering harm. Examples of potentially dangerous work areas in a medical facility include emergency rooms, geriatric units, waiting areas and psychiatric wards. Other than physical injuries caused by workplace violence, employees assigned to work in these areas could suffer emotional or mental trauma.
Nurses must educate themselves on and protect themselves from workplace stress. In a fast-paced work environment, taking care of dying patients and working rotating or 12-hour shifts may put substantial stress on a nurse’s mind and psyche. Mental stress may manifest physically as depression, fatigue, back and neck pain, stomach issues or headaches.
Nursing comes with obvious and nuanced hazards that could cause various harm. Employees and employers must recognize their shared and individual responsibilities to prevent mental, emotional and physical harm.