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Helping Nurses Reduce Workplace Injuries

Posted on by CDC's Safe Healthcare Blog

Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN
Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN

Author: Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN
President of the American Nurses Association

If you were asked which professions have one of the highest rate of on-the-job injuries, nursing probably would not be on the list. Yet nursing ranks as one of the riskiest jobs in the U.S., with the highest rate of non-fatal occupational injuries, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Every day, nurses and health care workers are exposed to a variety of physical injuries and occupational obstacles. Nurses face painful musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) from manually lifting and moving patients, they suffer from approximately half of all needle stick injuries, nearly 1 in 4 have been physically assaulted, and half have been bullied at work. In a recent American Nurses Association Health Risk Appraisal (HRA), 82 percent of participants said they experienced significant risk for workplace stress, double the national average.

These dangerous conditions can never be accepted as “just part of the job.”

This year during National Nurses Week (May 6-12), the American Nurses Association (ANA) has made it a priority to raise awareness about workplace injuries through its Culture of Safety Campaign. A culture of safety is defined as “a commitment to practices and policies supporting the provision of safe, ethical and high-quality care to our patients, and also ensuring nurses’ ongoing health, safety and well-being.” The campaign includes educational webinars, conferences and ANA publications focused on creating a set of collective values among executive leadership, managers and health care workers. To help achieve this, the ANA developed its HealthyNurse™ Health Risk Appraisal (HRA) portal for nurses to identify personal, work environment, health, and safety risks in their workplace, and then provide them with the resources to create better, healthy habits. The HRA also allows nurses to compare their risk results against ideal benchmarks and national averages. The overarching goal is to collectively work toward a culture of safety preventing injuries to both nurses and patients.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has guidelines and data on how healthcare facilities and patients can prevent healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). Make no mistake—nurses are key drivers of improving the quality and safety of patient care in all these areas and more.

The bottom line: We must take care of our nurses so they can take the best care of our patients.

Posted on by CDC's Safe Healthcare Blog

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