Workers’ Compensation and the Nursing Profession
While workers in construction, law enforcement, firefighting, and manufacturing suffer the bulk of workplace accidents; nurses too suffer a large proportion of workplace injuries. Nursing requires a great amount of manual labor. Nurses are at constant right of communicable diseases and infections. Nurses have just as much right to demand workers’ compensation as any other profession.
Common nursing injuries
Nurses are likely to suffer one or more of the following workplace accidents or illnesses during their careers:
- Slips and falls. Nurses are focused on helping patients move around, get in and out of bed, and get to their surgeries and medical procedures. They are not inclined to look at wet floors, broken tiles, tears, or objects that have fallen on the floor. Slips and falls can cause broken bones, torn ligaments, muscle damage, and cuts and bruises. Foot and ankle injuries are common. Any nurse who slips and falls can claim workers’ compensation without the need to prove fault.
- Lifting injuries. Nurses spend a lot of time lifting patients into beds, helping them get into wheelchairs, and moving them so they don’t get bedsores. Lifting injuries can cause back and neck pain, muscle tears, herniated discs, and other types of acute and chronic pain.
- Needle pricks. Nurses run a constant risk of being stuck by a needle. If a nurse acquires an infection or illness due to a needle insertion, they may be able to claim workers’ compensation on the basis of a workplace accident or an occupational illness. Latex gloves often aren’t strong enough to prevent against the spreading of a virus, infection, or a disease.
- Overexertion. Nursing is exhausting work. Nurses generally work long hours with little breaks. Fatigue and stress can lead to falls, back pain, slipped disc, and other injuries.
- Physical violence. Some patients come into the ER because they’re on drugs or have been involved in an altercation. The patient may vent his/her anger on the first nurse they see. Some patients become hostile during their stay and can strike a nurse at any time.
- Exposure to toxins. Nurses often help patients with X-Rays and other diagnostic tests. They run the risk of being exposed to dangerous radiation and toxic chemicals, and other pathogens.
- Repetitive stress injuries. Data entry, routinely bending down, and other repetitive actions can cause carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive stress injuries.
- Emotional difficulties. Nursing is often a thankless job. Nurses work with people when they are at their worst. Often, the news nurses and doctors give patients is depressing. The constant stresses and long hours can make it hard to function. Many nurses need time off from the stress. Some nurses need to treat with psychologists, psychiatrists, and other healthcare counselors – for depression, anxiety, insomnia, and other mental difficulties.
Any employee who is hurt while working has the right to request workers’ compensation benefits without the need to prove an employer was negligent. Work injury benefits in Tennessee include payment for reasonable medical bills and a percentage of lost wages depending on the type and length of disability. Vocational rehabilitation may be allowed. The workers’ compensation lawyers at Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law have been fighting for injury victims since 1945. We fight for injured workers in Chattanooga and Cleveland, TN, and in North Georgia. To schedule an appointment, please call us at 423-756-7923 or fill out our contact form.
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