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Nurses who move patients at risk for injuries

In the past we have discussed some of the dangers that exist for individuals who work in the healthcare field. While many individuals could be injured while interacting with patients during a stay in the hospital, far and away nurses spend the most time with them. During that time their duties vary widely but may include lifting and moving patients. This activity can be detrimental to the health of the nurse and could result in them becoming patients themselves.

To try to reduce the chance of this occurring nurses are taught how to move patients. They are instructed to keep their back flat and bend at their knees and hips. The problem, according to some scientists the way they are being taught to safely do this task is actually dangerous to them.

Several individuals, including the director of the Spine Research Institute at The Ohio State University, first conducted a study on the subject in 1999. The study utilizes a "Lumbar Motion Monitor" with sensors to record muscle use while the test subject moved a patient. The conclusion they reached is that the only way for nurses and other hospital staff to safely move patients is utilizing other equipment and machines–such as a ceiling hoist–to aid them.

Since then, other organizations including the National Nurses United union and American Nurses Association have endorsed that conclusion. Despite these endorsements, in many cases nurses are still left to move patients manually. This can lead to a variety of injuries including those to the back such as herniated discs. Injuries such as these can lead to a nurse being unable to work while healing. In some cases the injury may be so serious that the nurse can never work in that capacity again.

For those who need to be away from work to heal, workers' compensation may be available. In situations where difficulties arise is obtaining these benefits, a lawyer may be of assistance.

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