There are more registered nurses than workers in any other healthcare occupation, about 3 million in the United States altogether. Nursing is a demanding job that exposes registered nurses to multiple workplace hazards. As a result, they have one of the highest injury rates in the healthcare industry.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics collects data about workplace accidents. So that it can compare information across multiple industries, it categorizes the causes very generally. Here are the top causes of workplace injuries among nurses and how they occur in a healthcare setting.
Overexertion refers to pushing the body beyond its limits. Approximately half of all workplace injuries among registered nurses relate to overexertion. Often, these injuries result from trying to move or transfer patients.
2. Falls, slips and trips
Falling because of a slip or a trip is responsible for approximately one-quarter of all work-related injuries in registered nurses. Cleanliness and sterilization are important in healthcare settings to prevent the spread of germs, but floors can become slippery after mopping, which may account for many fall injuries among nurses.
3. Violence by other people
The rate of injuries from violent events for nurses is much higher than the average for all occupations. These injuries may occur when trying to calm patients who are combative or uncooperative.
4. Contact with objects or equipment
Approximately 10% of work-related injuries in nurses result from contact with objects or equipment. In a nursing context, this could refer to accidental needle sticks.
While needlesticks may not result in serious injury, they can expose nurses to dangerous pathogenic agents.