Working in medicine is usually a sign that you want to take care of others. Your career probably gives you personal satisfaction because you help people during their most vulnerable times, especially if you deal in direct patient care as a nurse or medical aide.
Unfortunately, the services that you provide to the public could result in a major injury to your back. In fact, your employer’s policies could drastically increase the likelihood of you suffering a back injury or similar overexertion injury on the job. The following three practices are all ways employers contribute to the risk that medical workers have for a back injury.
They don’t have enough staff
Hospitals and nursing home facilities will often have the minimum number of staff on the clock that they legally can. Not having someone else to help you can easily cause you to become injured while trying to lift a patient.
They don’t have the right equipment
Whether you work in a hospital or a residential care facility, moving and maneuvering patients is a big part of what you do. It is also one of the biggest risk factors for getting hurt on the job. Not only could you suffer an injury, but the patient could too if you fall while lifting them. Employers should provide hoyer lifts. Having an adequate number of lifting devices is as important as having multiple styles for the different needs of their patients.
They pressure their workers to ignore the early signs of a back injury
Sometimes, a back injury is the result of a single bad lift. Other times, the pain gradually develops and worsens over many weeks. If you asked for medical evaluation only to have your employer ignore the signs of your injury because they can’t afford for you to take time off, you can wind up with a much more debilitating condition than you would with prompt treatment and adequate rest.
Nurses and other medical professionals who are injured while lifting patients have the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits. That way, they can receive the medical care that they need to get back on the job while also getting a portion of the wages that they need to support themselves and their families.