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How to protect a CNA's back

CNA/MA   (4,379 Views 14 Comments)
by EbonyWaltonEl EbonyWaltonEl (New Member) New Member

2,473 Profile Views; 28 Posts

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Good day! I'm a Pre-Nursing student in a CNA program and it's nearing the end which means our clinical work load is increasing. Yesterday's clinical has me extremely sore. How can I protect my back as a CNA? I'm nervous if this pain is going to be a normal as I continue onto nursing career. What do y'all in the medical field (CNAs/LVN/RNs specifically) do to protect your body? I am not trying to spend the rest of my life in bed on my off days. Please help.

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fibroblast has 5 years experience.

468 Posts; 9,443 Profile Views

Short answer in my experience is a small patient load rather than 13 or 14 patients. When you have a lot of residents to get up or to put back in bed that can make you lose focus and become less conscious of your safety. Try to have a small pt. load.

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mindofmidwifery is a ADN and specializes in ICU Stepdown.

1,415 Posts; 14,591 Profile Views

Make sure you're doing things with proper body mechanics. Don't bend over, squat; use your legs not your back, etc. Make sure you get adequate sleep so your body can repair itself.

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verene specializes in mental health, hospice.

1,445 Posts; 9,493 Profile Views

Proper body mechanics, using two (or more) people to make lift/transfer safe if needed, and making sure you have good core strength.

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28 Posts; 2,473 Profile Views

Thank you all for your responses! Does anyone recommend any kind of back brace for support? I've heard mixed reviews about that. I am petite in height and size and find lifting/turning to be my main challenge. I feel completely strengthless when it's time to do turn patients.

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Missingyou has 20 years experience as a CNA and specializes in Long term care.

679 Posts; 7,171 Profile Views

This is what my doctor and physical therapist has told me:

If you do choose to use a back support, wear it loosely until you are transferring a patient, then tighten it. Don't wear it tightened all the time (and you will be tempted to)otherwise your back muscles will become dependent on it and will actually weaken and you will be at more of a risk for injury when you aren't wearing it.

There are specific exercises that you can do to strengthen your back.

Stretch before, during and after your shift. I go into the locker room during my breaks and do a few stretches.

Stay active. Swimming is awesome for helping heal back pain.

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16 Posts; 507 Profile Views

Funny that you post this, because last night on one of my training shifts as an overnight CNA at the hospital, I hurt my shoulder pulling a pt up in bed with the CNA who was training me. It was to the point where I couldn't do my job (happened to my dominant hand/arm) and have since had to file workers comp and I sat in the ER for hours waiting to be seen. Terrible, horrible, no good, very bad night. Anyway, what I'm learning is everyone is different with what they can handle. The CNA training me seems to think it's easier to pull a pt up in bed when the bed is higher, but for me being shorter, I prefer the bed lower so I can use all of my body rather than just the arm I'm leading with. I'm learning that you need to learn yourself and know how to speak up if you can't do it properly. Not only is it dangerous for you, but it's dangerous for pts as well.

Lifting weights at the gym doesn't hurt either, I suppose.

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28 Posts; 2,473 Profile Views

My situation is similar. A classmate and I were doing a bed bath and we had to turn the patient to place her new brief on. The patient is highly contracted in the upper so, she couldn't even reach for the siderails. The bed wasn't lowering. Now my back is killing me. I've been mostly bed bound and asking every health professional available about tips and what to do now that I'm injured.

I'm def taking everyone's advice to review proper body mechanics, strength train and swim once I heal.

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cirqul8r specializes in OR.

45 Posts; 1,085 Profile Views

The hospital I currently work for has some good guidelines on lifting, etc. they prefer you use lifting equipment if available. Otherwise, their policy is one person to assist per 35 pounds of patient. Yeah, I know, not generally workable. But a great guideline.

Do use any and all available assistive devices, and don't be afraid to ask for help. It's not safe for you or the pt if you don't have adequate help.

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Kuriin has 2 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Emergency.

965 Posts; 8,528 Profile Views

Anyway, what I'm learning is everyone is different with what they can handle. The CNA training me seems to think it's easier to pull a pt up in bed when the bed is higher, but for me being shorter, I prefer the bed lower so I can use all of my body rather than just the arm I'm leading with. .

The height of the bed should be at waist level of the shortest person helping.

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9 Posts; 712 Profile Views

When I needed to pull a pt up in bed, and had no help, i would use the reverse Trendelenburg function (head down), and if the pt was able to push themselves up as I pulled it made things a lot easier. If not able to move, I would grab the drawsheet from the top and pull pt up gently but firmly. Just a suggestion.

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