New York City nurses are true heroes. They sacrifice so much, all so they can provide essential care to their patients. However, the nursing profession is rife with occupational injuries and illnesses.
Nurses face a high rate of injury
In the past, nurses have faced the highest injury rates amongst all those in the healthcare and social assistance sector. One study reports in 2016, 19,790 nurses suffered workplace injuries and illnesses. Nurses working in hospitals comprised 74.1% of these injuries and illnesses.
In 2016, nurses working in the private sector suffered a combined total of 8,730 days away from work due to work-related musculoskeletal disorders. This amounted to 46.0 cases per 10,000 full-time nurses. This is significantly more than the number of days away from work for musculoskeletal disorders in all other industries.
Nurses face many occupational hazards
Nurses must walk, bend, stretch and stand for most of their shift, leading to fatigue and slip-and-fall accidents. In addition, nurses must lift and move patients resulting in back injuries. Nurses are also exposed to hazardous substances such as medications, disease, needlesticks and chemicals, leading to exposure-related illnesses.
Nurses also face violent events in the workplace caused by combative patients. In 2016, violent events were the cause of 12.2% of all nursing injuries. This is three times more than the rate of violence-related injuries across all occupations.
The most common injuries nurses suffered were sprains, strains and tears. Most of these injuries were to the trunk. Younger nurses were more likely to suffer upper extremity injuries while older nurses were more likely to suffer lower extremity injuries.
Nurses have a right to workers’ compensation
Nurses have a right to pursue workers’ compensation benefits if they are injured or made ill on the job. These benefits can help make ends meet during a time when you are unable to earn wages. This can be key in ensuring you can provide for yourself and your family until you can return to work.