One of the major risks that nurses face on the job is when they have to lift patients. In some cases, they may just have to move patients to a different position on the bed, but they also may have to help them get in and out of bed as they perform different tasks.
When you apply for a lot of jobs, they tell you that the requirement is that you can lift 50 pounds. But if you’re a nurse, your average patient may weigh more like 200 pounds. Some of them could weigh far more. Nurses can’t refuse to help people simply because of their weight, but they can suffer serious back, shoulder and spine injuries trying to help.
Are there other options?
You may think that it’s clear that there should be other options for nurses to assist patients, especially when they are too large to be moved safely. And there are overhead lifts that can handle up to 1,000 pounds, but the issue is that they are quite expensive. When it costs around $16,000 to buy one, many hospitals just don’t have enough for use on all of the patients.
At the same time, nurses can do everything correctly and still be injured. This is just one of the inherent risks of the job. It doesn’t mean that they’ve done anything wrong, and there may not be any way for their employer to mitigate this risk other than asking nurses to help one another. But if a hospital is short-staffed, this is not always possible.
If you have been injured on the job, you need to know about all of your rights to workers’ compensation.