Illinois nurses are one of the populations most at risk for an on-the-job injury. They face a number of hazards, including injuries from lifting people, exposure to disease and even combative patients. Knowing what precautions to take and making a point to always follow safety protocols, even in high-pressure situations, can help reduce the incidence of harm.
The importance of safety
Nurses are busy professionals, and that can mean the temptation to take shortcuts to get critical jobs done more quickly. While workers’ compensation benefits may cover expenses, on-the-job injuries or illnesses might have long-term health effects.
Avoiding physical injuries
Nurses might hesitate to get a lift to help them with a patient or other heavy objects, but using a lift or asking another nurse for assistance is important in preventing injury. They should also assist their fellow nurses when they can. Supportive shoes, watching for obstacles in the pathway and using good ergonomics can also lessen injuries. Avoiding using the same positions and movements over and over can cut back on repetitive stress injuries. In addition, nurses need to put good overall health care habits into practice for themselves, including getting enough sleep and exercise, eating nutritionally and practicing general self-care.
There is also a risk from illness. Regular handwashing and staying up to date on immunizations, including the flu vaccine, can offer some protection. Nurses should be diligent about avoiding needlestick injuries. Safe handling includes proper disposal as well as avoiding recapping needles.
The importance of PPE
Another place where it can be tempting to take shortcuts is in wearing personal protective equipment. While this can take some time to put on, it is essential for protection against disease.
Most nurses work in an environment that is busy, stressful and exhausting. This can make it difficult to remember or prioritize safety precautions. However, doing so is critical. Nurses may feel pressured to work when they are unwell, but this can exacerbate the problem and contribute to the further spread of disease.