Study: New Nurses at Higher Risk of Work Injury in North Carolina, U.S.

A new study conducted by the RN Work Project, recently published in the International Journal of Nursing Studies, found that newer nurses may be at higher risk for injuries than their more experienced counterparts. nurses.jpg

It’s been well-established that those within the nursing profession face a high risk of work injury both within North Carolina and nationally. Some of the more common, non-fatal injuries include:

  • Strains
  • Sprains
  • Needle sticks

But this research discovered newly-licensed nurses may be subject to a higher likelihood of hazards, mostly due to heavier workloads, longer hours and inexperience.

Study authors found that registered nurses (RNs) who worked nights and more than eight hours of overtime each week had more numerous reports of sprains, strains and needle stick injuries than nurses who worked a more regular schedule with less overtime.

Those who worked nights were at especially high risk of sprains and strains, probably due to the fact that there is far less assistance to lift and transport patients who are unable to move themselves.

Needle stick injuries, meanwhile, were a serious problem for nurses younger than 30 with a workload described as higher than average.

Most newly-licensed nurses work 12-hour shifts, researchers pointed out, and they were also more likely to work overtime than older, more established nurses.

Lower risk for sprains and strains was associated with nurses who graduated with a BSN (as opposed to an LPN or other less-advanced degree) and those who worked in hospitals that had a higher-than-average ratio for nurses to patients.

The data was released as a snapshot of a larger, longitudinal study that is analyzing nurse health and injury rates among 1,745 new nurses from 51 metropolitan areas in 34 states between 2006 and 2016. In addition to those issues, the study is also interested in examining the turnover rates of new nurses, as well as their attitudes, which involve their satisfaction, commitment to their organization and work preferences. Part of that, of course, involves the rate of work injuries.

Although nursing as a profession involves a host of physical and psychological stressors – something about which those in the industry are well aware and even take some sense of pride in – the fact is there are unnecessary risks that health care providers can take to reduce the risk of serious or debilitating injury.

Sprains and strains – particularly those involving the neck and back – can keep nurses out of work for weeks or even months. Needle stick injuries, meanwhile, are associated with numerous illnesses, including viral infections such as HIV.

The workers’ compensation procedures following a work-related injury in Winston-Salem can be arduous. While a needle-stick injury or illness may be fairly easy to attribute to work, those suffering sprains and strains may have a tougher time establishing causation. Our experienced legal team understands well the processes and we are committed to helping injured health care workers obtain the compensation they deserve during recovery.

If you have been injured at work, contact the Lee Law Offices at 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:
Working Overtime, Managing a Large Workload Increases Risk for Injury Among New Nurses, July 30, 2015, Press Release, New York Uni sity

More Blog Entries:
Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits Approved for Company President’s Survivors, July 22, 2015, Winston-Salem Work Injury Attorney Blog

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