I'm happy to see other long term weight lifters on here. I'm a 30 year old student nurse (having worked as a CNA for 7 years now) and have been lifting weights since age 7. Hearing NPR talk about the high rate of back injuries in nursing renewed my commitment to continuing my program of squats, deadlifts, and overhead press, along with rock climbing, yoga, and partner acrobatics, a sport that involves lifting friends in the air. Tendon/ligament strength can take years to develop.
At work I do my best to always get help as needed, have the bed at the most optimal height, and use whatever equipment is available, and I'm hopeful that building strength in more ideal conditions will help protect me for the moments at work and in life where form inevitably isn't perfect. Even as a 185 pound male weight lifter, I feel a need to do everything I can to make sure my back is protected. Maybe more so, given that people may try getting me to lift more for them. I'm actively looking at what nursing career options will be most sustainable for my body. Many of my hospital coworkers are getting injuries from pushing computers around 12+ hours per day for charting/giving meds.