I want to apply to ED jobs in the next 6mo- 1 yr but am worried about a repetitive strain injury in my wrist
Injury is in dominant wrist, 2 diff tyepes of tendonitis that started 1.5 yrs ago when i started phlebotomy training (In the lab for half day at a time). also had an old cartilage tear that was debrided 10 yrs ago.
I recently had a cortisone injection and am going to start going to hand OT next wk; it has improved somewhat but not completely. I am worried moving to the ED too quickly may aggravate the area, but I really want to make a move within the next yr.
just curious how much heavy lifting/pulling/pushing is in the ed.
I currently work in ambulatory care and do a lot of computer work and injections. computer work bothers it the most (and phlebotomy, ivs, preparing/mixing iv meds w a big vial and syringe).
the dr i have been seeing didnt provide any specifics when i asked besides not making the move right now, and suggested i ask the hand ot who i am seeing next wk for more info
in case the pain doesn't improve significantly, just want to know what i would be getting myself into... it feels much better with a brace but i know walking into a new job w a brace is not the way to go..
You would be doing the same things that bother it now, possibly at a higher volume and for 12 hours at a time.
Tons and tons of transfers and lifts. Not to mention CPR, IV starts, restraining patients you name it. You need to follow your specialists recommendations.
I type a lot, use a mouse a lot. Starting IV's, giving shots, pulling meds from bottles, pushing meds (D-50/bicarb IV or Charcoal NG are really hard on your hands), CPR, lifting, sliding, moving patients all day long.
I don't have hand problems and my hands hurt some days.
I have never had to do a lot of patient lifting and transfering alone. All the places I have worked we have had good support for that. Even if we are busy if someone needed help lifting or turning the patient or sliding them up we would take the 2 mins to help each other. Depending on the hospital you might even be able to get out of doing actual compressions. Most places I have worked it was the "techs job" because the nurses were needed for meds and charting, I am really good at compression and I rather do compressions than give meds or chart anyway so I would always be voluntold to do them or jump in anyway. But there were usually plenty of willing people.
Outside of those two things I don't see what else you might be able to avoid. Starting IV's doesn't bother my hands or wrists. You push a lot of stretchers though. Taking your patient from a to b and back to a and moving them in and out or to take them to the floor etc, etc. I don't spend a lot of times on the computers. Doing the meds has never bothered my wrists or hands but pushing an amp of D50 is absolutely an exception to that and a pain to push.
Nursing, especially in the ER has always bothered my trapezius muscle area more than anything. Especially if I don't stop and use the wall to stretch the area.
As others have said, a lot of transfers and lifts. I've found the ER to be very labor intensive. In fact, I hurt my lower back by pushing our crappy stretchers. Most of them are old with crappy wheels that stick. I was probably stooping over a bit too, which is bad. I think if you are meticulous about your body mechanics, you might be able to work in the ED. It's hard to take the time do get the lift equipment out though, especially in a code situation. I hurt my neck once during a code because I was at an awkward angle to start an IV. During those situations the focus is more on the patient and less on ones own comfort and that can be problematic over time, espcially if you have an injury.
I agree with the PPs and want to add that there are also times when your co-workers may need you as immediate help if/when they get attacked. It happens a lot where I work that someone goes after one of us and we yell for help and our fellow nurses are the closest people around. You'd have to be able to run into a room and help restrain someone/hold them down until security gets there. But that's where I work, your mileage may vary. I know not all EDs are the same on this one.
In my experience, there is quite a bit of lifting in the ED. There are work aids that can help but it's unavoidable.
Talk to your orthopod and your therapist; they will help you decide when your wrists are up for the strain.
The good thing is that the lifting isn't the kind of motion that causes the inflammation to the carpal tunnels. I have wonky wrists and rarely do they flare up from lifting because they're essentially locked during the activity.
Now CPR? Hellish for me. I can do it effectively but only because (a) I can accept the pain and (b) my upper body is strong enough to compensate for suboptimal positioning that my wrists demand.
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