Nursing is a demanding profession that often places people in high-stress environments. Nurses are at the forefront of patient care, working tirelessly to ensure the well-being of those they serve—and their role goes beyond administering medications and tending to medical needs. Nurses often find themselves providing emotional support and a comforting presence to patients and their families during difficult times. While their dedication to patient care is admirable, it comes at a price. The relentless pace, long hours, and emotional toll of caring for patients can take quite a toll on their own health and mental wellbeing.
The impact of working long hours in nursing
According to one international study, 50% of nurses have expressed concern about how high-stress their jobs are. The study also cited that spending a lot of time working long hours and dealing with continuous job stress can make your cells get old faster and increase your risk of an early death. It’s also linked to having high blood pressure, a stroke, and heart problems (CVD).
A separate study found that nurses who worked long hours—or at least 10 hours per day for 50 or more days annually—were more at risk of a stroke compared to those who worked fewer hours. In fact, those who worked longer hours were 29% more at risk of a stroke, and those who continued it for a decade or more were 45% more at risk.
Dangers of long-term stress on the body
Long-term stress, the kind that lingers day after day, can quietly wreak havoc on our bodies. It’s not just a mental burden, either. It has real, tangible effects on our physical health. Stress can make our hearts race, our muscles tense, and our minds restless. Over time, these effects can evolve into something more serious.
Stress-related illnesses are predominant in the nursing profession, primarily due to the constant pressure and emotional strain they face. In the United States, strokes in general have become a significant health concern, with over 795,000 of cases reported each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Even more shocking, stroke ranks as the third leading cause of death in women in the country, trumping even breast cancer.
Prolonged stress and CNS injuries
One of the most concerning aspects of chronic stress is its potential to harm our central nervous system (CNS). This is the part of our body responsible for coordinating essential functions like thinking, moving, and feeling. Prolonged stress can increase the risk of CNS injuries, and that includes strokes.
A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is disrupted, resulting in brain cell damage. Chronic stress can contribute to conditions like high blood pressure and atherosclerosis (the hardening of arteries), which are significant risk factors for strokes. Unfortunately, the effects of strokes don’t just go away immediately after they happen. They can actually lead to long-lasting health complications.
Physical and cognitive side effects of a stroke
When someone experiences a stroke, it can have profound physical and cognitive effects. Some of those effects often include:
- Weakness or paralysis on one side of the body
- Difficulty walking
- Problems with coordination and balance
- Impact on daily tasks and independence
- Memory problems
- Difficulties with language and communication
- Changes in thinking and problem-solving abilities
- Emotional impact on confidence and quality of life
The importance of post-stroke care
In the aftermath of a stroke, the road to recovery is often long and requires comprehensive care. Post-stroke rehabilitation plays a key role in helping survivors regain lost functions and improve their quality of life. This may involve physical therapy to regain mobility, speech therapy to address communication challenges, and occupational therapy to relearn daily activities.
Additionally, the support network surrounding stroke survivors is important. Family, friends, and healthcare professionals help provide emotional support and encouragement that a stroke victim needs throughout their recovery journey.
Can Chattanooga nurses who experience stress-related strokes qualify for workers’ compensation?
Workers’ compensation potentially comes into play for nurses in Tennessee who have faced strokes resulting from job-related stress. If they find themselves battling serious stress levels to the point that physical symptoms develop, like strokes, there could be a case for it. Nurses will generally qualify for workers’ compensation benefits if they can establish a direct connection between their employment and the stress-related injury.
However, it’s important to note that decisions regarding eligibility are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, with careful consideration of the unique circumstances related to the stroke and the individual’s medical condition. That’s why it’s also important to get in touch with an experienced Chattanooga workers’ compensation lawyer.
What would workers’ compensation cover after a stroke?
Following a stroke, individuals may encounter difficulties that affect their ability to work and maintain their regular lifestyle. Workers’ compensation benefits can serve as financial support during this challenging period. In Chattanooga, workers’ compensation benefits often encompass:
- Compensation for lost income or wages due to the stroke’s impact on work capacity.
- Coverage of medical expenses directly related to the stroke and its treatment.
- Support for rehabilitation and therapy costs aimed at aiding recovery and restoring functionality.
- Assistance in covering expenses for prescription medications and necessary medical equipment.
- Access to vocational rehabilitation and job training to help individuals reintegrate into the workforce.
In the demanding world of nursing, stress is an ever-present companion, and its consequences can be severe. If you or someone you know has experienced a stress-related stroke due to the challenges of their nursing job, you don’t have to face this battle alone. At Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law, we understand the complexities of these situations and are here to support you. Contact our office or fill out our contact form to schedule your free case review today. We proudly serve Cleveland, Chattanooga, North Georgia, and the surrounding areas. Your well-being matters, and we are committed to helping you fight for the justice and compensation you deserve.