If you count yourself among the thousands of people across California who currently earn an income as a nurse, you may understand all too well that, while rewarding, nursing can be an inherently dangerous, difficult occupation. Nurses typically report higher illness and injury rates than professionals across many other industries, and the long hours and often highly emotional nature of the job can only further compound existing difficulties.
Per the U.S. Library of Medicine’s National Institutes of Health, many nurses who develop illness or suffer injury while on the job experience similar health issues, and that many of those issues and hardships result from similar circumstances. Chronic pain, for example, is among the most common complaints lodged by today’s nurses, many of whom experience pains in their lower backs, knees and upper extremities. Often, persistent pain occurs because nurses handle heavy lifting duties, which might include moving immobile patients, heavy beds, medical equipment or what have you.
Nurses also face job-specific hazards relating to chemicals and potentially hazardous substances. Some of the substances used during chemotherapy treatments, for example, can pose a danger to nurses. Certain cleaning products used to maintain sterile medical environments can also pose a threat to nurses and hospital workers.
As a nurse, you also run the risk of coming in contact with communicable or contagious diseases. Injecting, suturing or drawing blood from patients who have certain contagious blood-borne pathogens presents inevitable risk, though you can mitigate the risk to some extent by following safety protocols and wearing gloves and utilizing other protective gear.
While these are some of the more common hazards faces by those in today’s nursing profession, please note that this is not an exhaustive list of all occupational hazards. This information is educational in nature and not a replacement for legal advice.