Lifting Patients

  1. I will be starting school in August. I frequently see people on this forum talking about lifting patients. Do nurses lift patients daily? Why do you have to lift them? When I was in the hospital after back surgery, I had a metal trapeze looking thing (sorry, I don't know what it's called) hanging over my bed that I used to help lift myself up using my arms so that I could get off the bed. My nurses never had to lift me.

    I'm asking this question because it is my dream to become a nurse, but at the same time I am concerned because I have had back surgery. I don't want to reinjure myself. I would be crushed if I couldn't go into nursing.

    One last question....I think I will have to have a physical done before I start school. Do I have to tell them about my prior surgery? If I do, won't this prevent me from being allowed to enter the program?

    Thanks to anyone that takes the time to answer!
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   LPN4Life
    Quote from LilStudent
    I will be starting school in August. I frequently see people on this forum talking about lifting patients. Do nurses lift patients daily? Why do you have to lift them? When I was in the hospital after back surgery, I had a metal trapeze looking thing (sorry, I don't know what it's called) hanging over my bed that I used to help lift myself up using my arms so that I could get off the bed. My nurses never had to lift me.

    I'm asking this question because it is my dream to become a nurse, but at the same time I am concerned because I have had back surgery. I don't want to reinjure myself. I would be crushed if I couldn't go into nursing.

    One last question....I think I will have to have a physical done before I start school. Do I have to tell them about my prior surgery? If I do, won't this prevent me from being allowed to enter the program?

    Thanks to anyone that takes the time to answer!
    Where I am starting to work, we have a "no lift" policy, we use mechanical lifts...but I'm sure in some emergency situations you may have to lift on occasion
    You'll have to answer to any previous surgery for your physical, but it won't keep you from going through the program, most job discriptions have a wgt capacity limit and ask if you can perform that duty without any problems, so I don't know
  4. by   truern
    In my program we have to be able to lift 50 pounds. You'll have a lecture and demonstration on proper body mechanics, though...and tips on how to save your back
  5. by   Dixiedi
    Quote from LilStudent
    I will be starting school in August. I frequently see people on this forum talking about lifting patients. Do nurses lift patients daily? Why do you have to lift them? When I was in the hospital after back surgery, I had a metal trapeze looking thing (sorry, I don't know what it's called) hanging over my bed that I used to help lift myself up using my arms so that I could get off the bed. My nurses never had to lift me.

    I'm asking this question because it is my dream to become a nurse, but at the same time I am concerned because I have had back surgery. I don't want to reinjure myself. I would be crushed if I couldn't go into nursing.

    One last question....I think I will have to have a physical done before I start school. Do I have to tell them about my prior surgery? If I do, won't this prevent me from being allowed to enter the program?

    Thanks to anyone that takes the time to answer!
    My agency has a 40 lb wt limit for lifting. Above that we use a hoyer lift. However, if the nurse who put the kid in the chair in the morning didn't use the lift it's impossible to put them back to bed with the lift.
    This irritates me and I have mentioned it several times with no results yet. One of the kids is about 75 lbs. It's a strain to lift him from the w/c to the bed. His primary nurse, no offense guys but here it is... is a man who doesn't think he's too heavy and doesn't want to introduce a sling under him all day everyday until it's absolutely needed. Here, we disagree. It's been needed for some time. He's been ove 40 lbs for a long time!
  6. by   Altra
    My school now explicitly spells out the ability to lift 40 lb. among other physical requirements in the application process.

    To the OP: many patients don't have the physical and/or cognitive abilities that you had during your hospital stay. Unconscious people, for example, can't use the trapeze bar above the bed. We've been taught to get a 2nd or even 3rd person to help rather than risk injury (to the patient or to ourselves). You definitely can't leave the info about your previous back surgery off of your health/physical exam form, and then later claim some exemption from lifting.

    Good luck to you.
  7. by   Dixiedi
    Quote from MLOS
    My school now explicitly spells out the ability to lift 40 lb. among other physical requirements in the application process.

    To the OP: many patients don't have the physical and/or cognitive abilities that you had during your hospital stay. Unconscious people, for example, can't use the trapeze bar above the bed. We've been taught to get a 2nd or even 3rd person to help rather than risk injury (to the patient or to ourselves). You definitely can't leave the info about your previous back surgery off of your health/physical exam form, and then later claim some exemption from lifting.

    Good luck to you.
    Seems to me OSHA limits the weight lifting to 40 lbs for most jobs.
  8. by   WOLFE
    to answer your question in regards to why nurses have to lift pt's...along with comatose pt's etc...i work in a hospital that performs cardiac bypass surgeries...after surgeries the pt's cannot lift themselves with a trapeze, or even push off arm rest with their arms, due to the breastbone being wired and the valves or arteries that were grafted...so first learn proper body mechanics...yes you will hear this quite a bit, second always ask at least one other person to assist...and with the physical you must disclose the information on previous history with your back...i know i had to, i have 2 herniated lumbar (lower back) discs, and a right hip that needs to be completely replaced...and yes i can lift...you will learn how to and what muscle groups to compensate with...good luck.
  9. by   moia
    I have just had decompression and discotomy after 8 years of critical care nursing..we turn and lift constantly...if you are starting your career with a back injury make sure you choose a career path that doesn't involve constant lifting and turning.
  10. by   Kim44
    I hurt my back a few weeks ago with a patient. I was walking into his room to give him his meds and found him climbing over the siderails. By the time I got to him, he was falling backwards. I had to catch him.

    I am ALWAYS very protective of my back, but some situations can't be predicted.

    Nursing is hard on your back. It's not just the lifting. It's the long hours on your feet, the bending, twisting, reaching etc....Procedures at the bedside can be hard too.

    Maybe you could ask your doc if your injury is a contraindication to this type of job. Good luck....
  11. by   Katnip
    We get a lot of bariatric patients-no mechanical lifts. Some people weigh well over 500 pounds. We get as many people as we can to turn them. We don't get those folks out of bed if they can't do most of it themselves.

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