Almost every occupation has its share of on the job injury hazards, but the medical field can boast not only the normal, everyday sprains and strains, but the downright scary needle sticks and possible contamination. Virtually every injury and disease known to man shows up at doctor’s offices and hospitals worldwide, so how do you keep yourself safe? Knowing exactly what to look out for is probably the best way to avoid accidental illness or injury.
The most important rule for nursing safety is always to keep yourself as healthy as possible. Long hours can lead to carelessness, especially in high stress environments. If you are working very long shifts, make sure to take your breaks as often as you can, even if it doesn’t seem prudent to do so. Even five minutes away from the hustle and bustle of a busy office can help you become more clear headed and able to think better.
Nursing is a very physically demanding job. You might be called on to help transfer patients from bedside to wheelchairs, or even helping to lift someone from a chair to a toilet. The most helpful advice anyone can be given when lifting something heavy is to “lift with your knees, and not your back.” This is especially true for nurses who are often handling more than their own body weight and will save you from a possibly very painful and lifelong spinal injury. Understandably so, back injuries are the among the most common nursing ailments reported.
Cuts and scrapes are often little more than a nuisance for people who work outside of the medical field, but medical facilities carry a myriad of germs that can sometimes be dangerous. Even something as small as a paper cut needs to be washed properly and treated with anti-bacterial soap and/or ointments. No one wants a simple scratch to become infected, but chances of this happening to someone who works in the medical field are exponentially higher.
And there are always the ‘sharps’ to worry about. Always be extra cautious when administering shots or intravenous needles, keeping the sharp points as far away from your skin as possible. Though nurses are usually inoculated as often as possible against all major diseases that have vaccines, bacteria and other blood borne pathogens are a frightening prospect. The medical research industry is making great strides to keep its personnel better protected with things like self-sheathing needles, but the most important rule of thumb when working with needles is to be especially vigilant and to use as much care as possible to avoid injury.