Nursing is beautiful, but it is so dangerous if it is done without adequate knowledge and carefulness. Student nurses most times see the perfect side of nursing, all they know is nursing is noble, then life takes a new turn the day a road traffic accident patient’s blood splash on the face and they have to pray the laboratory investigation results comes out negative.
One of the things I have chosen to be my mantra as a nurse is, “every patient is a suspect”, therefore I guide my care diligently with my suspicion. It is true that every occupation has its hazard, ranging from emotional rollercoaster, to exposure to pollutant and chemical and various types of injuries. The good news is as nurses we are enlightened about these hazards: we teach them and talk about them, yet a large number of nurses are victims of various kinds of workplace hazards.
1. Back Injury
This is common, and it is relatable to every nurse. Research says about 40,000 nurses report back related injuries annually, and this is due to lifting patients in bed, helping patients out of bed, transferring patients from the bed to chairs, and movement devices. Nurses are known for their perseverance on the issue of short staffing and underpayment, which is one of the cause of back injuries.
All back related injuries can be related to short staffing. Example is a nurse who weighs 65kg is been designated to a female surgical ward of 15 patients. In a shift that will last for 8 – 12hours, the nurse will need to help half of her patients out of their bed, help them on a bed pan or have their bed bath.
How to prevent back injuries
As much as the issue on underemployment is yet to be attended to by the government and labor congress, nurses can do themselves the favor of learning how to prevent back injuries.
It can be prevented in two ways
• Reducing the rate at which you carry heavy objects
• Learning to delegate work to nursing assistants or ward care
Stress has become a way of life for a large number of nurses, and they all have learnt to accept it as such. Stress can be managed to help you stay healthy and agile at work
• Have a schedule of your time, don’t spend your day offs visiting friends who live miles away
• Eat healthy
• Exercise regularly
• Sleep well
• Avoid unhealthy foods, such as caffeinated drinks
• Don’t procrastinate
• Know that you can’t have it all, you need to reward yourself after a busy shift. It not creativity.
3. Infectious Disease
December 1st was the world AIDS day and it was tagged, “know your status”, health practitioners are at the verge of contacting several kinds of infectious diseases, either by body contact, inhalation or other means. Research says that 600000 to 800000 needle-stick injuries occur each year in all healthcare system.
• Learn to keep an eye of aggressive patient to avoid inhalation or bodily contact with vomit or blood
• Never uncap a needle when it is not yet needed
• Don’t attend to a patient with your gloves on, and face masks in case of pulmonary diseases
A research result says, 80 percent nurses who work in emergency services report violence each year; 39 percent of nurses experience verbal assaults yearly and 13 percent of nurses report battery and domestic abuse yearly. So much has been said about violence in the ward, and we hope the government can do something to address the issue of violence and assault towards nurses.
• Be patient not to reply a patient relative in anger
• Ask questions before retaliation
• Never insult anyone
• In cases of death, don’t break the news of the deceased in a close formation. You tell them and leave immediately
• Be smart and know your right as a nurse
Above are the 4 common hazards in nursing and ways out.
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