Baehman Law

What does a nursing shortage mean for worker safety?

Nursing is a difficult job. You're constantly on the go, helping customers and dealing with sensitive subjects. It's a demanding job that drains both physical and mental energy.

Many nurses already work long hours to meet the needs of their clinic or hospital, and there is no respite coming as the Baby Boom generation ages. There are already hiring shortages in many areas of the country. In addition, the American Nursing Association predicts the US will need another million nurses on the job to keep up with demand.

Exposure to many different conditions

Most people's image of a nurse features a clean white uniform inside the sterile, controlled atmosphere of a hospital. They don't associate the job with health risks and work-related injuries. In fact, nurses face a number of dangerous variables: they deal with the public; they're exposed to contagious illness; they move heavy machinery; they work with sharp instruments; and they work long hours.

Nurses can poke themselves with needles, catch something from a patient, or suffer at the hands of a delusional or angry patient. Physical violence against nurses is far too common.

Will higher demand mean more injuries?

Many of these conditions are unpredictable, but long hours are not. With nurses working long shifts and picking up extra hours to keep up with demand, fatigue is another issue that affects workplace health. Tiredness affects motor skills, coordination and decision-making. It's one more risk on an already sizable list.

If an incident does happen, whatever the reason, all nurses are eligible for workers' compensation to help cover the cost of injury and to properly recover. Whether you need help filing a claim, appealing denial or determining the difference between a workers' compensation claim and a third party claim, an experienced attorney can help to make sure that an injured nurse has access to the right resources for getting back on your feet and helping patients again.

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