Nursing is a noble profession that requires caregivers to devote long hours to patient care. While their dedication to providing quality healthcare is unquestionable, nurses often face various challenges, including the risk of repetitive stress injuries.
A repetitive strain injury (RSI) is a musculoskeletal condition caused by repetitive motions and overuse of certain body parts. In nursing, these injuries can develop due to the constant physical demands of patient care.
1. Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)
Carpal tunnel syndrome, or CTS, is a prevalent condition that occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm to the hand, becomes compressed at the wrist.
Nurses are at risk of CTS due to frequent typing, charting and administering medications. To help prevent CTS, nurses can use ergonomic keyboards and mice, take regular breaks to stretch their hands and wrists and maintain proper wrist alignment while working.
2. Back strain and injuries
Nurses often lift and move patients, which places significant strain on their backs. Improper lifting techniques can lead to acute back injuries or chronic pain conditions. It’s crucial for nurses to prioritize their spinal health.
Nurses are advised to utilize proper lifting techniques, including bending at the knees and using assistive devices to help prevent back strain and injuries. They should also engage in regular strength and flexibility exercises and seek assistance from colleagues when moving heavy patients.
Tendinitis, the inflammation of tendons, can develop in nurses who perform repetitive tasks like administering injections or performing wound care. The wrist, shoulder and elbow are common sites for tendinitis in nursing professionals.
Nurses can mitigate tendinitis by rotating tasks to avoid overuse of specific joints. They should also incorporate regular stretching exercises into daily routines and use ergonomic equipment to reduce strain.
While nurses dedicate their lives to healing others, they must also prioritize their well-being to help ensure they can continue their essential work without debilitating injuries. By understanding what causes repetitive stress injuries, nurses can determine when they should pursue compensation.