Whether you just finished CNA training or are starting a new career as a nurse, there are plenty of risks to joining the medical field- especially to your body. Think about it for a moment. All day, you’re lifting, pulling, tugging, injecting, soothing and compromising with your patients. There’s bound to be an issue sooner or later. Maybe you lift Mrs. Carris with your back instead of your knees or Mr. Jones pulls away from you at the last second as you’re attempting to inject him with some Haldol to calm his nerves. Shooting pain runs through your lower back, or you can’t stop your forward momentum in time to prevent the needle from sticking you.
You’ve got an on-the-job injury. So, what do you do now?
Nurses and On-The-Job Injuries
First things first, if the injury isn’t life threatening (or even life compromising) give yourself a moment to breathe. Let your body tell you exactly what the issue is. With your adrenaline pumping, you might not be able to assess every area easily that has been hurt. If you’ve been involved in a fall or hurt your back in some way, moving before you have a clear understanding of what areas of your body have been affected can be dangerous.
Secondly, get help. Even if you feel like you can just walk the injury off, don’t wait to get medical attention. More could be going on than you know, and having a thorough assessment is the only way to know if there is. If you hesitate and continue on with your work, you could put yourself at risk for greater injuries. Your patients are at risk as well because you’re not fully up to completing your job.
Third- get ready for some paperwork. You may not like it, but paperwork is just as important to you as a nurse or health care assistant as it is to your employer. Paperwork keeps you safe by providing a written record of your injury so no one can deny that it occurred later on down the road. If you need to be off work for a while and obtain worker’s compensation, this written record also helps.
Learn and move on. Assess the situation that led to the injury and figure out if there was anything you could have done to prevent it. If there was, keep that in mind for next time so you avoid the injury. If the injury was severe enough to prevent you from returning to nursing for a while, take the time off. Don’t push yourself to come back before you are completely healed or you may face further injuries that could stall or even completely halt your nursing career. While you’re recovering from you on-the-job injury, be sure to follow all of your doctor’s instructions to ensure you heal quickly and correctly.
Get hurt on the job? As a nurse or a health care assistant, there are many ways you can become injured. Make sure you know exactly what to do so you can quickly get back to being a nurse.