Healthcare workers often ignore signs of musculoskeletal injuries

On Behalf of | Mar 20, 2023 | Health Care Worker Injuries |

They say doctors and nurses make terrible patients, usually because they ignore their own distress to continue helping others. While admirable, this could ultimately take away your ability to help anyone.

If you become too affected by your physical problems, they may worsen and lead to disability. Musculoskeletal disorders are among the most ignored injuries affecting healthcare workers, even when they know they shouldn’t.

What causes musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in healthcare?

Although many work activities can affect the musculoskeletal system, patient handling is a top cause of these injuries. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that nursing assistants suffered the second-highest number of occupational MSDs in 2017. Patient-handling activities that could lead to an MSD:

  • Repositioning patients
  • Lifting and transferring patients
  • Changing sheets with bed-ridden patients
  • Maintaining awkward positions when handling patients

As a medical professional, you already know about these MSD risks, but it never hurts to remember that caution when handling patients is wise.

What medical settings pose the highest risk?

Anyone in the healthcare industry is at risk of an MSD, but some may have more risk than others. OSHA identified the following healthcare settings where MSDs usually affect workers.

  • Home-based healthcare environments
  • Long-term care facilities like nursing homes
  • Acute care facilities such as hospitals and surgery centers

Those who handle patients while performing services like radiology and physical therapy may also be vulnerable to MSDs.

Exercise your workers’ compensation rights

California has some of the nation’s most beneficial workers’ compensation laws. Filing for benefits as soon as you notice signs of an MSD empowers you to continue serving patients with little or no time away from work. Seek legal guidance if you need more information.