Workers' Compensation Blog

nurse back injury

How Registered Nurses Can Avoid Back Injuries

DOL Physicians Treating Nurses with Work-related Back Injuries in the Dallas Region

According to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nurses suffer more than 35,000 back and other injuries each year while on the job that are serious enough to cause them to miss work. The majority of these injuries are preventable – through both the education of the nurses themselves and through interventions taken by their employers.

In this article, we will look at a few ways that both registered nurses and medical facilities can take action to avoid back injuries at work.

What Medical Facilities Can Stop Nurse Back Injury Accidents

In many cases, nurses’ back injuries stem from mistakes made by their employer, not just mistakes made by the employee. Here are four major recommendations for the nursing profession as a whole to avoid more back injuries:

  • Educate their employees. First and foremost, medical facilities should have programs in place to make nurses aware of the danger of back injuries, as well as the proper way to lift heavy objects: By bending knees, keeping back straight, and not lifting too much at once.
  • Invest in lifting equipment. Studies have shown that, very simply, it is difficult to lift something as heavy as a patient safely, even with training and help. Two different experiments have shown that hospitals can reduce nurse back injuries by up to 80 percent by introducing lifting equipment, such as mechanical hoists, to take away the issue of moving so much weight.
  • Hire more nurses. Having enough nurses on the floor means having more partners to assist with lifts and transfers. It also reduces nurse stress and helps slow lifts down, which are two other factors that keep nurses safe and healthy.
  • Make nurses a priority. All too often, in the hierarchy of hospitals, nurses and their needs come last over administrators, doctors, and patients. There needs to be a significant cultural change in hospitals and other medical facilities before nurse injuries go down.

What Nurses Can do to Stop Back Injuries at Work

Because nurses do not have much control over the preventative measures that their employers take to protect their health, they may need to take their own steps to prevent back injuries at work. Here are a few fast tips:

  • Educate yourself. The single best step nurses can take is learning how to properly lift patients and heavy objects. This including understanding when to avoid attempting a lift by yourself.
  • Wear appropriate footwear. Supportive and protective footwear can minimize or prevent injuries.
  • Stretch. Just a few minutes of stretching before and after your shift can prevent both acute injuries and repetitive strain injuries.
  • Keep in shape. Even a moderate weight lifting routine can help keep you strong. Keeping your back and core in shape are especially helpful in preventing lift and transfer injuries.

Start Healing with the Help of Our Dallas Work Injury Clinic

Whether you have suffered an acute back injury at work, or whether you are struggling with chronic back pain as a nursing employee, we are here to help you. Our board-certified physician can help you back onto the path to health. To learn more, please contact us today.