If you make your living working as a nurse, other people count on you regularly to see to it that they stay as healthy as possible. Regrettably, however, your role as a nurse exposes you to injuries and hardships of your own, with nurses, per the National Center for Biotechnology Information, typically reporting higher-than-average instances of job-related injuries and illnesses.
Recognizing where your occupational health risks lie may help you learn to adopt safer practices and take more strides to protect yourself, so know that your role as a nurse places you at risk of:
Exhaustion and fatigue
As a nurse, you may have a tough schedule that includes long shifts, night hours and so on. These and other factors, such as the often-tough psychological demands of the job, can compound and lead to exhaustion and fatigue, which can affect not only job performance, but overall quality of life. According to one study, more than 43 percent of surveyed nurses reporting feeling excessive, work-related fatigue.
Exposure to dangerous chemicals and pathogens
Hospitals must be extremely clean, sterile environments for the benefit of their patients, and this means cleaning agents. Those containing potentially harmful chemicals are frequently used in medical settings. As a nurse, you may also face exposure to dangerous drugs used in chemotherapy and other treatments, and you also run the risk of coming in contact with blood-borne pathogens if you regularly administer shots or draw blood from patients.
Aches and pains
Aches and pains are also quite common among nurses, and they can prove relatively minor in nature, or intensely severe. Some of the most common pains reported by nurses include musculoskeletal pains, lower back pains and knee pains, though neck, shoulder and upper-extremity pains are also common. Such pains sometimes result from lifting heavy objects, moving patients, transporting hefty equipment and performing related tasks.
Getting enough sleep, wearing proper protective gear when working around chemicals and patients, and making sure you use proper lifting techniques at work may all help reduce your chance of an on-the-job injury.