According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics nursing has one of the highest rates of occupational injuries in the United States. In New Jersey, nurses that work in hospitals are more likely to be injured than employees in most other professions. In fact, there are only five jobs more prone to non-fatal injuries than working as a health care professional.
While the vast majority of nursing injuries in New Jersey are non-fatal, employees can still incur extensive medical costs seeking treatment. Therefore, the consistent rise in injuries among nurses is of concern to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and certain state agencies. Plus, employees in the medical profession are concerned with the regularity in which nurses are injured.
Many people wonder why so many New Jersey nurses are hurt on the job and what to do if they suffer a nursing injury.
Nursing Injuries Arise from a Variety of Sources
Each year a New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney will represent nurses injured on the job in hospitals, nursing home, psychiatric facilities and private homes. Nurses face multiple risks of injury in the workplace. On a regular basis, nurses claim workers compensation for slips and falls, collisions, lifting, pushing, illnesses, and other sources of injury.
It is apparent from the statistics that nursing injuries in New Jersey arise from a variety of health complications and incidents. This makes it more difficult for hospitals and other employers, to address the underlying cause of nursing injuries.
Many employers are implementing best practices and workshops to help eliminate the most common sources of injuries, such as patient handling and disorganization on hospital floors. Even nursing schools introduce certain practical information into the curriculum that might help a nurse prevent injury during his or her career.
However, quite a few nursing injuries are seen as occupational hazards.
Impossible to Prevent All Nursing Injuries?
There are certain injuries that most nurses and medical professionals see as inherent risks to their job. For example, over 40% of nurses say their work duties include the lifting or moving of patients or heavy objects. If a nurse twists in the wrong direction or is unsteady when lifting, it can lead to a serious back or neck injury. Even when executed with proper technique, the continuous motion of bending and lifting can lead to injury.
The development of musculoskeletal disorders, such as neck strains, is one of the more common problems to plague nurses. Among all professions, nursing ranks sixth for number of strains and sprains reported each year. One profession with more strain and sprain injuries are nursing aids and orderlies. Nursing aids actually have the highest rate of these injuries throughout the United States. Another injury that is seen as an occupational hazard is chronic back pain.
Many people shrug and consider these injuries inherent to the nursing profession. However, environmental or situational factors in the medical professional can exasperate these injuries. The American Nursing Association found that the environments around nurses were partially to blame for the high number of injuries. For example, the configuration of hospital rooms. As well, improper techniques and tools were taught to nurses during school or training. These situational circumstances are not inherent to nursing. Through retraining and attention to nurses needs at work, employers can influence the number of nursing injuries.
Steps to Take If You Are Hurt as a Nurse
Whether your nursing injury arises from a single incident or overtime, you are entitled to workers’ compensation in New Jersey. The first step towards receipt of compensation is to report the injury to your supervisor. You should report an injury immediately. Your employer is likewise required to provide notice of the injury to an insurance provider to open a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
Next, it is essential to seek medical treatment soon after an injury. The longer you wait the more difficult it is for a doctor to connect the injury to a work activity or incident. Waiting to see a doctor can also worsen the injury. As well, if a doctor recommends that you see a specialist or receive ongoing care, it is important to follow medical advice. Be certain to document all medical expenses and save applicable medical bills.
If you are uncertain how to approach the workers’ compensation process, received pushback from an insurance provider or employer, or simply have questions regarding your claim in New Jersey, contact a workers’ compensation attorney. A legal professional can offer confidential advice on your case and provide representation throughout the workers’ compensation process.
The Law Offices of Albert J. Talone provide knowledgeable legal representation to injured workers in New Jersey from all professions. Call our Burlington County office at (856)–234 –4023.
The information in this blog post (“Post”) is provided for general informational purposes only. This information may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this Post should be construed as legal advice from The Law Office of Albert J. Talone or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter.