Working in the healthcare field is a rewarding but challenging profession. Not only do healthcare professionals deal with the emotional and mental toll of caring for patients, but they also face a variety of physical risks in their day-to-day activities.
If you work as a healthcare professional, knowing what to watch for can help keep you safe at work.
Back and neck injuries
When you are working as a healthcare professional, you will often find yourself in physically demanding situations. Lifting and moving patients is a part of the job, and this can lead to back and neck injuries. These types of injuries occur when the muscles in your back or neck strain or tear due to overuse or sudden movement. You could also suffer from herniated discs, where the disc between your spinal bones ruptures.
Repetitive stress injuries
Healthcare professionals, especially those in roles such as nursing or physical therapy, perform repetitive tasks throughout their shifts. These tasks, over time, can lead to repetitive stress injuries. Carpal tunnel syndrome, a common example of a repetitive stress injury, occurs when you perform the same hand and wrist movement repeatedly. This can cause pain, numbness and tingling in your hand and arm.
If you work with needles and other sharp medical tools, you are at risk of needlestick injuries. These injuries can expose you to dangerous bloodborne pathogens, leading to diseases like HIV or hepatitis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that healthcare workers sustain nearly 385,000 needlestick and other sharps-related injuries annually in hospital settings.
Slips, trips and falls
In a fast-paced healthcare environment, spills, clutter and hurried movements can lead to slips, trips and falls. Wet floors, loose carpeting or poorly lit areas can all contribute to these types of accidents. These incidents can result in a variety of injuries, ranging from sprains and fractures to head injuries.
As a healthcare professional, it is important to understand the risks associated with your profession. By recognizing these common injuries, you can take steps to protect yourself and maintain your health, allowing you to continue providing excellent care to your patients.