While it is common knowledge that workers in construction, oil and gas, and heavy industry face some of the greatest workplace risks, few people realize how dangerous being a nurse can be. In fact, studies and statistics across the United States continually show that nursing is one of the nation’s most dangerous professions, and health care workers suffer more injuries in the workplace than workers in any other profession. These workplace dangers are faced by nurses of all types, especially those who work in nursing homes or assisted living facilities.
At Schneider & Madsen, our Wilmar workers’ compensation attorneys are well aware of the many hazards nurses face, and have worked with many who suffered injuries or even illnesses incurred while performing job-related duties. If you or someone you love is a nurse who has been injured on the job, including work at a nursing facility, our legal team is available to help you better understand your rights, whether you may be able to pursue workers’ compensation, and how we can help you navigate the process to secure the benefits you need.
When it comes to nursing homes and workplace injuries, nurses face a number of risks in the course of performing their everyday jobs. Some of the most common injuries include:
- Back Injuries – Falls are the leading cause of injury among older adults, and nursing homes see numerous falls by residents, sometimes on a daily basis. When falls do occur, nurses must respond and offer assistance. While nurses may work together to lift a resident off the ground, others, including those who work night shifts or those who provide one-on-one care, may be left to lift a patient themselves, some of whom can be heavier than nurses and unable to support themselves. Additionally, nurses can also suffer injuries to their back when lifting patients from their beds. Back injuries can range in severity from strains to serious injuries involving herniated and damaged disks that result in chronic pain and require medical intervention, surgery, and long periods of recovery. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that injuries to the back caused by lifting patients are the most common injuries experienced by nurses.
- Repetitive Injuries – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) reports that nurses are nearly twice as likely to suffer musculoskeletal injuries, particularly those resulting from overexertion and repetitive movements, than workers in other fields. As such, nurses frequently experience injuries to their wrists, shoulders, hands, feet, and ankles.
- Assault – While nurses who work in assisted care facilities have important jobs caring for the elderly and patients in poor states of physical health, they must also often deal with older adults who face issues involving their mental health or mood. Often, this leads to attacks and assaults by patients on staff, which can cause a number of injuries. Violence is a common cause of injuries in the nursing field.
- Slip and Fall Accidents – Nursing homes are busy places where medical supplies, food, and other goods are constantly being transported around facilities and to and from patients. Unfortunately, this creates the risk of spills that create hazards for trips, slips, and falls, which can cause nurses to suffer serious injuries. Nurses can also face tripping hazards caused by electrical cords and other dangers associated with medical devices and equipment.
- Infection / Illness – As nurses are in a health care setting with patients who may be sick and / or require medical intervention such as shots and blood work, there is always the risk of contracting blood borne infectious diseases or illnesses, especially from needle sticks. Nurses who have contracted an occupational illness while performing their work can pursue workers’ compensation benefits just as they would following an injury.
Being injured on the job can have serious consequences on the physical and financial well-being of nurses, which makes workers’ compensation essential in helping them secure proper medical treatment and wage supplementation that can ease their financial burdens as they recover. Our legal team at Schneider & Madsen understands the impact a work injury can have on nurses and their families, which is why we are passionate about guiding them as swiftly and successfully as possible through the legal process of applying for and obtaining worker’s compensation benefits.
In some cases, nurses may suffer preventable injuries as the result of a negligent third party. This may occur in various ways, such as when defective equipment or products cause harm to nurses, or when facilities that do not directly employ a nurse fail to address potential safety hazards they knew or should have known about. When reviewing cases from injured nurses, our legal team also explores whether third party negligence played a role and whether nurses may have the ability to file personal injury claims in order to secure additional compensation from the liable party.
Schneider & Madsen is backed by decades of combined experience and insight accumulated through handling thousands of cases. When you depend on workers’ comp benefits during these difficult times, you can be confident about working with our caring and highly capable lawyers. To discuss a work-related injury sustained as a nurse at a nursing home, assisted care facility, or any other nursing position, contact our legal team today for a free consultation.