Pond Lehocky is celebrating hard-working nurses as Jan. 21-25 kicks off with Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists’ Week. Nursing is the number one occupation for nonfatal workplace injuries with more than 35,000 per year. Nurses’ jobs are physically demanding, and they are required to lift and move patients and spend many hours on their feet. In addition, they are constantly exposed to illness and pathogens and often handle needles and other sharp instruments. Moreover, nurses have to frequently deal with patient violence and work-related stress posed by the high stakes of the job. Thus, nurses face substantial risks and the numbers back this up.
According to a survey by the American Association of Nurse
Anesthetists (AANA), CRNAs safely administer more than 45 million
anesthetics to patients each year in the United States. Yet, the health
and safety of CRNAs, and nurses in general, is often overlooked.
Here are 10 tips nurses can follow to stay safe on the job:
- CLEAN YOUR HANDS – Washing your hands prevents
the spread of disease and can keep you from getting sick.
- USE LIFT AND TRANSFER EQUIPMENT – There is no safe
way to lift a patient. Use patient lift and sling machines when they are available
to help transfer patients. Also, utilize blankets and transfer boards to move
and reposition patients. Always have another colleague help you.
- PRACTICE GOOD BODY MECHANICS: ERGONOMICS – Practice
ergonomics and good body mechanics. Nurses should bend their knees, not their
backs or waists, to lift. In addition, wear comfortable, supportive shoes.
Prolonged standing and walking on hard floors puts stress on the back.
- SPEAK UP AND STEP UP – When you are dealing with
a violent patient, always ask a colleague for help. Be prepared if a patient is
uncooperative and always make sure the patient is aware of the procedure to
current on vaccinations and immunizations – Healthcare professionals are
at greater risk of getting the flu or other diseases. Illnesses like influenza
can spread by a simple sneeze or cough. By staying current on vaccinations, you
protect yourself, your patients, colleagues and family.
- BE ALERT FOR SLIP, TRIP AND FALL HAZARDS – Watch
for water or other liquid that has spilled on to the floor. In addition, watch
for other hazards and keep the environment free of clutter. If there’s
something on the floor, pick it up to avoid future accidents.
- PRACTICE SAFE NEEDLE HANDLING – Hospital
personnel experienced 385,000 needlestick and sharp-related injuries in 2016,
according to OSHA, which is a particular concern to CRNAs. Exposure can spread
blood-borne disease such as HIV/AIDS or Hepatitis B or C. Always dispose of
needles in their appropriate container. Avoid overfilling sharps containers and
promptly dispose of them. Avoid recapping a dirty (used) needle. However, if
recapping is necessary, the scooping method is advised.
- WEAR PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE) WHEN
APPROPRIATE – Select the appropriate gloves, gowns, masks and eye protection to
prevent exposure to fluids and airborne particles. Take no shortcuts when it
comes to protection against bloodborne pathogens.
- GET PLENTY OF SLEEP – Fatigue negatively influences
nurses’ performance. It poses risks both to your patients and yourself.
- PRACTICE GOOD SELF-CARE – Daily exercise, good
nutrition and psychosocial support are key. Nurses who maintain muscle
strength, flexibility and healthy weight are less likely to get hurt. Finally,
when you are sick, stay home and rest.
Hopefully, these tips will help nurses and other healthcare
professionals stay safe and healthy. However, if you do get injured on the job,
let our attorneys fight for your right to workers’ compensation, Social
Security disability, long-term disability or employment law benefits. Our law
firm has helped more than 2,500 healthcare professionals nationwide.
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