The Dangers of Nursing

  1. Hi all,

    Nursing can be dangerous at times due to physical injuries that may be caused by violence, excessive tiredness from shift work and possible exposure to various things. We have one body to last us a lifetime and so I thought that it would be a good idea for people to collaborate ideas on how to avoid/reduce injuries or harm to yourself at work. Let me know if I have missed something or you feel like one of these is of little/no concern and I can add changes. Maybe you yourself or someone you know have experienced these or there are ways that you protect yourself from these injuries or harm to yourself. I have read recent posts where nurses have said that driving drowsy has led to accidents including the death of colleagues. Another stating how they have worked with nurses with a black eye, broken arm and a fractured hip from violent patients and that they have worked with/seen nurses kicked, punched and spat on. Some nurses have even left the profession due to the injuries that they have suffered or are being overexerted/burnout from work. Maybe this can be changed/avoided/reduced if there are better strategies in dealing with them.

    I have summarised the injuries/harm that nurses could endure into 3 categories:


    1. Physical injuries (from lifting e.g. patients, from standing for long periods or helping patients who are aggressive/violent). Nurses may for instance experience back injuries, leg injuries at the joints or the development of varicose veins for instance or injuries relating to violence etc.



    1. Shift work (excessive tiredness e.g. driving accidents, more prone to mistakes that could impact patients, disrupting the regular sleep-cycle and possible health risks e.g cardiovascular disease. This is a good website which details some possible health risks and some solutions: Shift Work Health Risks: Heart Disease, Ulcers, Obesity, Diabetes, Depression, Accidents Maybe you have a good schedule in dealing with shift work that you would like to share.



    1. Other e.g Chemical/Patient sickness (fumes, liquids, hazardous substances, radiation, surrounded by patients' illness e.g airborne and direct contact diseases and sicknesses).


    I feel like having more nurses working at once could help with some of these issues because it could allow for more rest time and therefore making it safer for both you and the patients etc. and probably will allow for more flexibility in shift work. Also, there is the obvious use of wearing wear compression stockings or comfortable footwear to prevent leg pain.
    Last edit by traumaRUs on Jun 9
  2. Visit Mary3010 profile page

    About Mary3010

    Joined: Jan '18; Posts: 61; Likes: 16

    2 Comments

  3. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from Mary3010
    Hi all,

    Nursing can be dangerous at times due to physical injuries that may be caused by violence, excessive tiredness from shift work and possible exposure to various things. We have one body to last us a lifetime and so I thought that it would be a good idea for people to collaborate ideas on how to avoid/reduce injuries or harm to yourself at work. Let me know if I have missed something or you feel like one of these is of little/no concern and I can add changes. Maybe you yourself or someone you know have experienced these or there are ways that you protect yourself from these injuries or harm to yourself. I have read recent posts where nurses have said that driving drowsy has led to accidents including the death of colleagues. Another stating how they have worked with nurses with a black eye, broken arm and a fractured hip from violent patients and that they have worked with/seen nurses kicked, punched and spat on. Some nurses have even left the profession due to the injuries that they have suffered or are being overexerted/burnout from work. Maybe this can be changed/avoided/reduced if there are better strategies in dealing with them.

    I have summarised the injuries/harm that nurses could endure into 3 categories:


    1. Physical injuries (from lifting e.g. patients, from standing for long periods or helping patients who are aggressive/violent). Nurses may for instance experience back injuries, leg injuries at the joints or the development of varicose veins for instance or injuries relating to violence etc.



    1. Shift work (excessive tiredness e.g. driving accidents, more prone to mistakes that could impact patients, disrupting the regular sleep-cycle and possible health risks e.g cardiovascular disease. This is a good website which details some possible health risks and some solutions: Shift Work Health Risks: Heart Disease, Ulcers, Obesity, Diabetes, Depression, Accidents Maybe you have a good schedule in dealing with shift work that you would like to share.



    1. Other e.g Chemical/Patient sickness (fumes, liquids, hazardous substances, radiation, surrounded by patients' illness e.g airborne and direct contact diseases and sicknesses).


    I feel like having more nurses working at once could help with some of these issues because it could allow for more rest time and therefore making it safer for both you and the patients etc. and probably will allow for more flexibility in shift work. Also, there is the obvious use of wearing wear compression stockings or comfortable footwear to prevent leg pain.
    First, compression stockings CAUSE leg pain in many of us. Comfortable footwear is less important than supportive footwear that will provide support and prevent over-time injuries to the feet, knees, hips and back.

    Use of proper safety equipment (and using it correctly) will prevent injuries from fumes, hazardous substances, radiation and communicable illnesses -- as long as these things are known to be present. It is pretty difficult to protect yourself from TB or ebola when you don't know the patient has TB or Ebola, from hazardous substances or fumes you aren't aware of. But these factors aren't unique to nurses -- you can just as easily get ebola from the guy who sneezed all over the produce in the grocery store, a hazardous substance exposure when a truck or railroad car overturns in your neighborhood or radiation exposure if you're working in a power plant or the military.

    Better staffing could, of course help. But shift work is a necessary part of nursing and someone has to do it. Someone has to work nights, weekends and holidays. There are plenty of threads about how to do so safely and how to be healthy while doing it.

    Using proper equipment and using it properly and consistently can prevent physical injuries. As for violent patients, learning de-escalation techniques may help.

    There are many threads here on allnurses about each of these topics. If you wanted to start a new thread, you might get more discussion if you limited the thread to one topic rather than several at once. Hope this helps.
  4. by   Mary3010
    Ruby Vee: Thank you for your information Ruby Vee!! It seems as though prevention of physical injuries, fumes, hazardous substances, radiation and communicable illnesses etc. are prevented when you use the safety equipment correctly and know how to deal with it. I suppose you could treat the patient as though they might have those diseases and treating hazardous substances or fumes you aren't aware of as though they are. Maybe that could be a way to go about it. I guess when you look at it, there are probably things out there that we don't even know about that cause diseases/sicknesses etc. (whether it be in direct contact with these things when working or out in public). Good idea! If I don't find another thread then I'll make one and limit the information. I probably wrote too much. Thanks once again.

close