The demands on professional nurses vary drastically in different work environments. A nurse providing support in an elementary school will have different job responsibilities than someone providing home health services for elderly adults.
Hospital nurses are in a particularly dangerous area of the nursing profession. People who work in hospitals are exposed to dangerous substances, work in close proximity to potentially dangerous machinery and are at risk of personal violence from patients. However, all of those risks pale next to the biggest potential risk.
More nurses working in hospitals suffer injuries caused by overexertion and bodily reactions than almost all other causes combined. Overuse injuries, like back injuries from lifting patients, account for 48% of all lost-time incidents in modern hospital settings. A back injury due to overuse might effectively force a hospital nurse to leave their position.
Hospital nursing is physically demanding work
If a patient falls on the floor, you don’t always have time to go get a Hoyer lift or a coworker to help you lift them. You will need to stay on your feet, likely for 12 hours at a time, and will need to get to and from patients quickly in emergency situations.
A significant back injury from overexertion when lifting a patient might prevent you from fulfilling those job responsibilities in the future. Back injuries can affect someone’s strength and range of motion, as well as their ability to stay on their feet for more than half the day.
If you aren’t able to safely and effectively meet the medical needs of your patients without hurting yourself in the process, you may need to explore another area of nursing or a different profession altogether.
Workers’ compensation can help those who must change jobs
The sad truth is that getting hurt in the hospital might have a lasting effect on your earning potential. Even if you have years to go before you retire, a significant reduction in your annual income could cause financial hardship.
Workers’ compensation benefits can help employees unable to continue the same profession they previously enjoyed by providing them with permanent partial disability benefits. Workers can receive regular compensation for their diminished earning potential. In some cases, professionals can also receive vocational rehabilitation services that helped them move into a new profession or a different area of their career after an injury.
Learning more about different workers’ compensation benefits can help you request the support you need when you get hurt on the job.