If you work as a nurse, you are probably worried about picking up an infection. As hospitals are where people go when they have an illness, the chance of you catching something is higher than average.
Patients can threaten you in more direct ways, too, though. Some might attack you because they have to wait for attention. Others might harm you due to a mental illness, being drunk or high on drugs.
Hospitals must act to protect their staff
While you understand that a nursing career comes with risks, you need your employer to do all they can to minimize those risks. Here are some of the things they must put measures in place to prevent:
- Back injuries: Moving patients can cause wear and tear to your back over the years. One awkward movement could also cause a back injury by itself. With many hospitals suffering staff shortages, you may not have the support on hand to help you move a patient, increasing the injury risk.
- Sharps: When you spend your days handling needles to provide essential injections, there is always a risk that one of the needles jabs you. You or a colleague could trip while holding one, or a nervous patient could grab you and cause the needle to enter your skin. You could also put your hand on one that someone has not disposed of properly. A severe infection could result.
- Stress-induced illness: Working long hours, seeing distressing things and dealing with difficult patients can lead to short or long-term mental health issues or physical ailments.
If you need time off work after becoming ill or injured while nursing, you will need to claim workers’ compensation benefits. Working in the service of others should not come at a cost to yourself.