The goal of a nurse is to promote holistic health and well-being for their clients as well as educate and carry out preventive measures to protect clients from illness and injury. Safety is an issue that can protect both nurses themselves as well as their clients and surrounding community. Ergonomics of nurses and performing in a manner of proper technique protects the nurse directly and the client indirectly. Training for terrorism also affects both nurse and client. Researchers and organizations spend large amounts of time and money to determine the most effective methods and technology to ensure safety and continue the vision of improved nursing care. Preventing Back Injuries
When discussing professions with an increased risk for physical injuries is mentioned, a variety of specific jobs come to mind. However, the risk exposure in the nursing profession is frequently overlooked. A high percentage of nursing injuries are in relation to the musculoskeletal muscles of the back. According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (2008), twelve percent of registered nurses have left the field in relation to back injuries and 10,983 lost work time in 2000 due to lifting patients (para. 2). In her article, Anne Hoskins broke down nursing injuries by type of injury and also by cause of injury. Over a ten year study, 54 percent of injuries were considered a musculoskeletal disorder (para. 8) and then 53 percent of all injuries were caused by overexertion (para. 9), most of which were due to lifting patients. By these few facts alone, it is evident that by implementing proper preventive measures in nursing duties (i.e. patient lifting), work related injuries would decline by half. The effects of back injuries often occur gradually over time and repetitious movements. The most common risk factors that lead to such injuries in nurses include twisting, stooping down low from the waist, lifting over the shoulder, dragging, and carrying items away from the center of gravity. Twisting is often in relation to moving a patient short distances (i.e. from the bed to the chair or rotating around in a bathroom) or sliding them up in bed. An example of stooping down low from the waist in a healthcare setting is seen when attempting to pick a client or bag of linens up off the floor. Lifting over the shoulder includes reaching for object off a high shelf. Nurses often drag mattresses to straighten up a bed. Carrying objects away from the center of gravity is a common motion when transferring a patient from one bed to another (Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 2011). “An important consideration in the implementation of behavioral interventions is the time commitment of staff” (Nielsen, Sigurdsson, & Austin, 2009, p. 552). Specific body mechanics should be incorporated in injury prevention. This does occur at the expense of seconds or minutes. However, nurses (and their supervisors) should try to remember that taking those minutes and seconds pales in comparison to hours and cost lost due to injuries preventable by proper body mechanics. To prevent twisting and dragging, nurses should keep their waist in the direction of their feet and use multiple muscle groups (i.e. legs and feet) at together (Potter, P.A. & Perry, A.G., 2009, p.1244). Leg usage is critical in several preventive techniques. Bending at the knees aids in preventing low back stooping and to keep objects in the center of gravity (pelvic and abdominal region). This should be done in correlation with tightening the abdominal and pelvic muscles. Keeping objects and/or patients close to the body puts requires distributes the force needed from the back to the whole body (abs, arms, legs, chest) (Potter, P.A. & Perry, A.G., 2009, p.1244). Though proper posture and body position is the base of preventing back injuries in any work force, including nursing, prevention, is a holistic approach. Prevention in a health care setting does...
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