A nurse’s back is his/her most used tool. If you end up with an injury or a strain, it will make it almost impossible to do your job and take care of others.
We push, pull, lift, turn all day long. It’s important to maintain good back safety. Back injuries are very prevalent in the nursing field. In the latest study that I can find, the Bureau of Labor Statistics states the following:
In all industries combined, 1998 injury data shows that nearly 12 out of 100 nurses in hospitals and 17.3 out of 100 nurses working in nursing homes report work-related musculoskeletal injuries, including back injuries, which is about double the rate for all industries combined.
It’s important as a nurse to remember to take care of your back. Here are a few reminders of ways to help prevent back injuries.
- Before you lift, turn, or transfer a patient, think through the task. Do you need assistance? Is there equipment that will help? Are you able to maintain both your own safety as well as the patient’s safety?
- Utilize proper lifting techniques. We have all been taught safe lifting techniques; use them.
- Use assistive equipment when it’s available. It may take more time, but your health and safety are worth it.
- Ask for assistance from your co-workers to turn, transfer, etc. In addition to asking for assistance, be willing to assist your co-workers when they ask.
- Perform regular back exercises for good back health.