Nurses and Attendants at Risk for Low Back Injuries

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Back injuries, followed closely by shoulder injuries, are the most common job-related injuries for my clients in the nursing field. Nurses, and those employed as nursing attendants are at high risk for these injuries primarily because they must transfer patients from beds to gurneys or to wheel chairs, or to baths.

A new law in California requires hopsitals to establish a "safe patient handling policy", meaning that lifting devices must be used instead of manually lifting patients and that staff must be trained better. The Santa Cruz Sentinel.com reported that studies done by hospitals that had already established those policies in 2004 showed that the rate of injuries among nurses dropped 15%. Handling overweight patients was a particular concern as the population continues to be more obese.

Most hopsitals in Nevada have instituted training on how to transfer and move patients using correct body mechanics. The policy at each hospital may differ on when a nurse is required to use lift equipment. Prevention of these injuries is certainly the key to reducing the number of low back sprains, disc herniations, and back injuries in general that afflict workers in the nursing field. If your hospital does not have good patient lifting policies, you might want to speak to your supervisor or director to see what can be done to obtain new equipment or to get additional training to prevent future injury to yourself and your co-workers.

Please see full article below for more information.

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