Next up in the news is a look at a series of articles and stories over at the NPR.org site on nurses and workplace injury rates. Healthcare has a level of back injury and other musculoskeletal injuries from patient handling that is seven times the level of musculoskeletal injury average for all other industries.

Nurses More Injuries Than Construction

ceiling-mounted-lift-pictureTo give you some perspective, hospital and healthcare workers get injured 3 times more frequently than construction workers. These injuries are due in large part to overexertion related to repeated manual patient handling activities, often involving heavy manual lifting associated with transferring, and repositioning patients and working in extremely awkward postures.

Some examples of patient handling tasks that may be identified as high-risk include:

  • transferring from toilet to chair
  • transferring from chair to bed
  • transferring from bathtub to chair
  • repositioning from side to side in bed
  • lifting a patient in bed
  • repositioning a patient in chair
  • making a bed with a patient in it

The NPR investigative series looks at this injury rate and in the article I look at this week, examines how technology and training can be effective methods to combat this ridiculously high injury rate. Using tools like ceiling mounted lifts to move patients from bed to chair or to lift them while changing the bed linens can go a long way to reducing risk of back injury.

Hospitals Must Invest in Lifting Technology

It’s all about the hospitals investing in the tools and training to make healthcare back injury a thing of the past. What is your facility doing to reduce back injury for you? Are they just paying lip service to the challenge by urging you to “lift carefully and appropriately” or are they actively working to fix the problem?

That’s the question that I think you need to ask when interviewing. How are you going to support my lifelong career choice through safety measures and technology investment?

Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode – Ending Nurse to Nurse Hostility and Episode 337.

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