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Helping patients could leave hospital workers with major injuries

People pursue jobs in the medical field for a number of different reasons. For some people, an early experience with a compassionate medical professional may inspire them to care for others. Some people go into medicine because it provides excellent job security and livable wages. Regardless of why you want a career in medicine, it's important to understand that you will face dangers on the job.

While working in the hospital may not seem as dangerous as driving a commercial vehicle or working in a factory, hospital workers actually have some of the highest levels of risk among any professionals in the United States. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, hospital workers have a higher annual rate of injury on the job than construction or manufacturing workers.

The cause of those injuries may surprise some people, while others find that the most common issues medical professionals experience on the job clearly reflects the work they do.

Overexertion is the leading cause of injury among hospital workers

There are many dangers in the hospital workplace, ranging from exposure to syringes and needles, medications, and combative, aggressive patients. However, it is the daily care of patients that actually creates the most danger for medical professionals who work in hospitals.

Nurses and other hospital staff need to lift, move, support and otherwise bodily carry the weight of patients. Many times, the amount of staff on hand does not really reflect the needs of patients. Situations can also quickly change, resulting in sudden shifts in the work required by hospital workers.

Staff may be spread thin throughout the hospital or may not have time to call for help. That can result in injuries to any of the major joints, muscle groups or bones. Back injuries are particularly serious, and they could keep a hospital worker from returning to the job indefinitely. Injuries to the knees, wrists, hips and even shoulders can also make it difficult for hospital staff to perform the duties of their job.

Sometimes hospital workers are the ones who need care

Those drawn to a profession that provides care to other people often put their own needs off in the hope of helping others. Doing that as an injured worker in a hospital is a mistake. Not only could you unintentionally endanger a patient for your inability to properly lift them with an injury, but you could also do permanent damage to yourself that will necessitate either a disability claim or change of career.

Hospital workers who suffer injuries while working should report it as soon as they notice symptoms and seek care. Workers' compensation will cover the expenses related to medical care after work injury. Workers' compensation can also provide permanent or temporary disability payments to medical staff who cannot perform their job while they recover.

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R.C. Shea & Associates, Counsellors at Law
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