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Decreasing Back Injury Among Nursing Staff

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Decreasing Injury among Nursing Staff

Decreasing Injury among Nursing Staff

Skeletal injuries among nursing staff have been steadily rising in the hospital, especially with the elevating weight problem in North Carolina. Nursing is the number one profession receiving workers' compensation. Injury data has shown that 17 out of 100 nurses are reporting work-related injuries ("Bill," 2006, p. 5). These injuries have costly implications for insurers, health care providers, and hospitals while driving nurses away from the bedside.

In the past two years Massachusetts Nursing Association (MNA) has implemented a plan that would require Massachusetts hospitals to provide a system to assist nurses with safe patient handling in order to avoid injury ("MNA," 2006, p.14). Each facility will have a written organization-wide safe lifting and handling plain containing the following: policy and procedures describing safe patient handling and lifting philosophy and approach; procedures; equipment type, numbers and location; mechanism for addressing nurses' refusal to perform unsafe lifting and handling; and education and training programs conducted or utilized at the facility by qualified personnel ("MNA," 2006, p.14).

The major goal of our hospital is to provide patients with high levels of care while protecting the hospitals employees from bodily harm. Research has shown nursing staff have suffered the stress and bodily pain accompanied with their duty to provide top care to patients ("MNA," 2006, p.14). Offering movement technique classes, installation of lift equipment and implementing a plan similar to the Massachusetts Nursing Association will contribute to lowing musculoskeletal injuries



The database available through NCLive gave me access to professional journals that were helpful in establishing ideas for decreasing injuries among nursing staff.

Internet Sales Catalog

I retrieved price ranges for several high performance ceiling lift equipment manufacturers to find a suitable cost for the hospital.

Personal Interview

The personal Interview I conducted with Donald Prilliman, United Parcel Service (UPS), helped me understand the monetary benefits from a business point of view for correcting this issue in a timely manner.

Internet Resources

I retrieved many resources through the World Wide Web that supported most of my visions of how to reduce the musculoskeletal injuries and costs of implementing my recommendations.


Why are back Injuries Increasing Among Nursing Staff?

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics nursing staff is the number one occupation receiving workers' compensation for work-related musculoskeletal injuries. This graph represents several top ranked occupations and the number of injured workers a year with personal statistics listed by thousands.

Back injuries among nursing staff have been increasing over the last 20 years. Nursing staff have to lift the patients without further harm to the patient. Most nurses are threatened by costly lawsuits and are having to lift the patient in such an awkward way that they have to bend and twist in an ergonomically incorrect posture ("MNA," 2006, p.14).

Another reason back injuries are increasing among nurses is because patients are becoming heavier. Nurses have to move heavier patients at the same rate as a normal sized patient. Among other reasons, patients with critical injuries are harder to move because of their fragile state. One of the nurses' goals is not to cause further harm to the patients. They are also trying to avoid interrupting patients' IV's, other tubing, casts, wound dressings, and injures to limbs ("MNA," 2006, p. 14). While doing so the nurses are putting themselves at risk of having musculoskeletal problems ("MNA," 2006, p. 14).

Another factor for injuries increasing among nursing staff is the self-neglect nurses put on themselves. Nurses historically have been educated to emphasize patient safety, while emphasis on self-protection is almost nonexistent ("MNA," 2006, p. 14). Nurses are working longer hours and not having the proper time to train their upper extremities and back muscles. Also with time limits and staffing shortages, nurses do not always have time to page an assistant for help, so they go ahead and move the patients themselves.

This graph represents injuries nurses incurred at the Veterans Hospital in Durham, NC. due to patient handling and movement tasks.

What have Other Occupations done to Correct this Issue?

Many companies are issuing mandated policies to help decrease injuries on the job. They are following these policies to the letter by placing lifting and handling equipment for any load over 50 lbs. or above shoulder height. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) guideline for the maximum lifting load that anyone should routinely lift is 51 lbs. ("MNA," 2006, p. 14).

Many occupations have started issuing back braces, and industries are becoming very strict on following lift regulations to prevent workers compensation. Wilson stated, "UPS has a policy on lifting a maximum of 70 lbs per package, and workers have access to other types of equipment to move packages heavier than that. One of our main goals is to keep our employees safe and off of workers' compensation," (Wilson, personal communication, Nov 3, 2006). The monetary benefits of installing ceiling lift equipment and offering classes will greatly outweigh the rising cost of workers' compensation.

What Benefits have Arisen from Having Proper Ergonomics Taught in the Workplace?

The Massachusetts Nursing



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