Lifting injuries are very problematic for nurses. They lead to a lot of backing injuries and spinal cord injuries. These can keep nurses out of work for days while they recover, and some injuries may even require surgery and months of recovery time. These injuries must be taken seriously by all staff.
There is a persistent myth that hospitals do not need to worry about this if the workers haven’t had a problem before and they are generally healthy. But this is called a myth for a reason, and it’s important to know why.
First of all, many experts say that workers shouldn’t be required to lift more than 35 pounds. Even businesses that go beyond this will often have the limit set at 50 pounds. While this may work well if you’re in a pediatric hospital, most adult patients are going to vastly exceed these numbers. A nurse who is expected to lift a patient on their own is putting himself or herself at severe risk.
Another problem that experts point out is that lifting can cause micro injuries. They may just feel like a minor tweak at the time. But the cumulative effect can become debilitating over time. Eventually, a nurse could suffer life-altering injuries that have really been building up for their entire career. This is why supervisors and coworkers are sometimes surprised when a nurse is injured, saying they’d done the same thing many times without an issue. But that is precisely the problem.
Is there a solution?
Hospitals do have some solutions, such as machines designed to assist with lifting heavy patients. They may also have protocols in place where nurses have to work together. But this isn’t a perfect science, because these machines aren’t always available and other nurses are not always on site when needed. This means that a lot of nurses simply try to make the lift on their own and suffer significant injuries as a result.
If something like this has happened to you, then it’s important that you know about all of your options to pursue workers’ compensation.