Medical Care for Medical Professionals Injured on the Job in the Dallas Area
Here’s a truly shocking statistic, courtesy of the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): Registered nurses, nursing assistants, and orderlies suffer roughly three times the rate of back and other musculoskeletal injuries as construction laborers. In addition, hospital orderlies, nursing assistants, personal care aides, and registered nurses suffer nonfatal on-the-job injuries on the scale of firefighters, police and sheriff’s patrol officers, and correctional facility officers.
And here’s another one: Each year, an average of 35,000 nursing employees across the country miss work because of injuries suffered while on a shift.
At Work Injury MD, we are all too aware of the epidemic of workplace injuries among registered nurses and other hospital floor workers, especially when it comes to back injuries sustained during lifting patients and moving medical equipment. Not only that, but we also understand how these serious injuries can take a nurse out of work for days, weeks, or months at a time – sometimes ending their entire career as a floor nurse in the blink of an eye.
Our board-certified doctor and highly trained medical staff are here to help nurses and other hospital workers recover from their injuries, get healthy, and return to work if possible. We are here for nurses with work injuries, whether they have suffered a simple acute injury that will heal in days or suffered a serious long-term injury that requires sustained, aggressive, or invasive treatments in order to see results.
If you are a nurse who has been injured on the job, we can help.
The Number One Cause Of Injury For Registered Nurses
The statistics are clear: Back injuries are far and away the most common workplace injury for nurses and hospital orderlies. These injuries include:
- Muscle strains
- Lumbar sprains
- Herniated discs and slipped discs
- Broken or fractured back
- Spinal cord damage
Back injuries either happen in one isolated incident or over a longer period of time. For example, one nurse may suffer a back injury when attempting to lift a patient out of a bathtub, while another nurse may develop chronic back pain after months or years of lifting objects that were too heavy, lifting too many times per day, or lifting objects with improper form. Both acute lifting injuries and overuse/overexertion injuries can be equally serious, and can bring a comparable amount of pain and debilitation.
Other Common Workplace Accidents & Injuries For Texas Nurses
In addition to back injuries caused by lifting and moving patients, nurses also suffer injuries from a number of other issues in the workplace. The other most common injuries and accidents for registered nurses and other nursing professionals include:
- Slips and falls. Floor nurses are on their feet all day and are often rushing from room to room helping patients, administering medications, and checking charts. It is no surprise that slip and fall accidents are common, especially involving spilled substances, medical equipment wires, and other hospital hazards. Since they work on tiled floors, slip and fall accidents can often result in serious injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBI), back injuries, neck injuries, hand and wrist injuries, foot injuries, knee injuries, and leg injuries.
- Repetitive stress injuries. Nurses engage in the same tasks repeatedly throughout the day, from opening doors to moving patients, to typing, to adjusting wheelchairs. If these motions are repeated too often, or if muscles, joints, and tendons are overused, the result can mean chronic pain, inflammation, pinched nerves, and other health issues. Repetitive stress injuries can get worse over time and can result in permanent damage, if they are not treated effectively and issues in the work environment are not addressed.
- Needle sticks & hazardous substance exposure. Even the most careful nurses are at risk of exposure to dangerous medications and blood-borne diseases, such as viruses and bacteria. These exposures are usually due to accidental needle sticks, though they can also occur during other types of treatment that involve bodily fluids or medication administration.
- Workplace violence. Nurses are at higher risk for workplace violence than many other professionals. Workplace violence could come in the form of an out-of-control patient harming or deliberately assaulting a nurse, or a work colleague engaging in violence. Nurses who work with seniors with dementia, with patients suffering from mental health issues, and with prisoners are at the highest risk for workplace violence.
These are far from the only injuries that are sustained by nurses during their days on the floor. Any on-the-job injury suffered by registered nurses should be examined and treated by a doctor familiar with nursing-related health conditions.
Nursing Injury Prevention: Studies & Strategies
In recent years, two different studies have determined that the key to preventing back injuries among those in the nursing community lies within a simple two-pronged approach: (i) educating nurses and orderlies about how to properly lift patients and (ii) installing equipment that helps nurses lift patients. The strategy was applied in two different groups of hospitals:
- A federally funded study trained nurses across the large system of VA hospitals about how to specifically avoid back injuries during their workday. The study also installed lift systems in patients’ rooms: Hooks on the ceilings that bear the patient’s weight as they are moved to and from bed. The two strategies reduced lifting injuries by 40 percent.
- A second study conducted at Baptist Hospital – a chain of five hospitals in Jacksonville, Florida – also implemented both an educational training system and a lift assist system. Their rate of nurse back injuries fell by a shocking 80 percent.
Based on this information, OSHA moved to approve federal regulations that required all companies, including medical facilities, to take steps to prevent ergonomic injuries in the workplace. But the bill, which specifically mentioned the plight of registered nurses, was killed by Congress in 2000.
How To Heal A Back Injury
At Work Injury MD, we see a large number of patients suffering from on-the-job back injuries. Our team is very familiar with these injuries and our full-service clinic has a clear strategy for approaching these injuries with care, from the moment you enter the door to the moment you return to work.
The path to a healthy back involves:
- Tests and diagnostics. It is vital that before treatment begins, we know exactly why you are hurting and what is limiting function. Through a medical exam, scans, and x-rays, we will determine where the problem is and why it is occurring.
- Pain management. Back injuries are known for causing excruciating amounts of pain. None of our patients should be in pain. One of the first steps we take is making sure that our patients are as comfortable as possible without being over-medicated, whether through over-the-counter medication or prescription painkillers.
- Injections and surgery. In addition to rest, back injuries may need to be treated with more aggressive interventions, including steroid injections or surgery. These two options will be investigated on a case-by-case basis, based on your exam and your progress over time.
- Physical therapy. Physical therapy is part of recovery for almost all patients suffering from a serious back injury. Therapeutic exercises and movements can help to heal the body, restore strength, and restore range of motion. Physical therapy can also help prevent back injuries from flaring or returning in the future, which is especially important to nurses who are planning on returning to work.
- Education and understanding. Treating injured workers means doing much more than healing the physical problem: It means preventing future injuries from happening upon their return to work. For this reason, we believe it’s important that every worker understands why their injury took place, as well as how they can change their actions and environment so that similar incidents don’t take place in the future.
Registered Nurses: Getting Healthy With Work Injury MD
Safety and health experts agree that registered nurses should not be suffering from injuries at the rate that they are – and that the industry as a whole has to make big changes in order to help prevent nurse injuries on hospital floors, especially debilitating back injuries. However, registered nurses across Texas cannot wait for sweeping change – they need help now.
At Work Injury MD, we are here to make certain that registered nurses and other hospital workers get the assistance they need after a serious workplace injury, whether they have injured their back while moving a patient or are suffering from another work-related ailment. We understand what it is like to work the hospital floor and recover from a workplace injury. We will help you every step of the way, from diagnosis to recovery.
To schedule your consultation today, or simply to ask a question about your case, fill out our brief contact form.