Injured Nurses – Does your facility care?

By December 29, 2015Nursing

Some years ago, I tore my trapezius.

I had a patient who was, quite frankly….wider than she was tall.  She was very ill and had a trach, and was on a vent.  She had pneumonia.

She developed CDiff. Naturally, this meant she was constantly incontinent.  Her family refused to let us insert a fecal management system. Reason stated:  “You should just clean her up, because that is your job”.  


So we did.  Constantly, on a bariatric bed, with her fighting us because she did not wish to be turned.  However, she was laying in her own excrement and her power of attorney authorized us to clean her up.  The bed was very wide, and it was hard to turn her even when she was not fighting us. She was also very short, and slid down in the bed every 5 minutes.

We used a piece of equipment at the time called a ‘Maxi-Slide’. We would roll her to clean her up, then place a new maxi-slide and a pad underneath her. The maxi-slide ALWAYS became soiled because she was short and slid, moving the pads out of position.move

So, try this 20 times a night.  Talk about an exhausting assignment.  I had her for three days in a row, and we eventually ran out of Maxi-slides.  In the whole hospital.  When I realized we were running low on night two, I asked for more.  They were not provided.

So when she had the same issues on night three, I tore my trapezius moving her with no safety equipment.  There we no lifts or other equipment available. She was literally five hundred pounds.  I reported to Employee Health per policy. It became immediately obvious that they didn’t give a damn that I was hurt.

I was grilled about why I didn’t use the provided safety equipment.  I explained the situation to the Employee Health department and I was told that I should have found another solution.  I was also told that they did not ‘pay for injuries for employees who failed to follow policy’. 

Yes, this happened.

They sent me to an urgent care and I was examined by a physician who diagnosed me with a torn trapezius.  I was given medications and sent home, to follow up with a specialist the following day.  I did not QUITE need surgery, thank goodness.  But I lost wages, and spent a great deal of time in pain.  When I returned to work, the company wanted me to pay for and take a FOUR HOUR PATIENT MOVEMENT CLASS.

I told them to piss off, and soon after found a new job.

I now work for the VA, and I help with the Safe Patient Handling and Mobility program.  It is a passion for me.  And the VA does this very well.

Please comment and tell me about your experiences with being injured at work.








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Author Janie Garner

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Join the discussion 7 Comments

  • Betty says:

    Herniated T-12 thru S1, 3 ruptured discs. Patient knocked me onto the floor and fell on top of me. Hospital refused to do tests and tried to send me back to work even though I could barely walk. Had to get an attorney to get the tests to show my injuries and I’m still having to pay for my own treatment. I’ve been called a faker, lazy, trying to get a free ride, drug seeker and have been slandered as a nurse throughout the hospital. It’s been almost a year and I’m still off and still suffering and still being bad mouthed. For doing my job!! I protected my patient, she wasn’t hurt, she didn’t hit the floor, I protected her like I’m supposed to.

  • Cheryl Mulvey says:

    On 2/6/09 I suffered a trimalleolar fracture of my left ankle while trying to walk to my car. There was a trash can lid under the snow that had not been shovelled. This happened at 3am. I was walking with the charge nurse to get something out of my car before my shift ended at 3:30.
    Reduced it myself because all I could see was the swelling coming over my sneakers. Incident report completed, surgeons called (one wouldn’t come in because of the snow) and off to surgery I went. First thing I did when I woke up, was to reach for my foot… Yes, it was still there! Then I found out that “mahogany row” was asking DAY SHIFT if I was outside smoking. Security took pictures of my sneakers. The day I went to get a post-op check I had to threaten with a lawyer to get them to cover everything. Imagine my surprise when we pulled into the parking lot for the post-op check and there was a fence being put up where I fell seven days before. Never heard from the occupational health nurse until I was four weeks into therapy.
    All of a sudden, the had a light-duty position for me. Four weeks later, Memorial Day weekend, I was back to work and charge nurse in the ER.
    And the surgeon said I shouldn’t even think about walking until July 4th!

    Bad snowstorm, unusual for us. Although I was salary (wound care), I volunteered to stay since so many couldn’t make it in and others had to try to get home to their young children. My car was out in the back 40 (the Nurse parking lot). Those of us staying were told to move our cars in closer. Getting out of my car, my foot hit a patch of ice under the snow and whump! Down I went. Torqued my knee pretty good. Couldn’t weight bear at all so hobbled around on borrowed crutches. Saw Dr. two days later when staffing levels were safe. Torn ACL. Claim denied since the injury didn’t happen within the hospital proper. Charged for use of crutches.

  • LM says:

    I have been hurt at work, but thank God nothing serious. However, I know that in my company if you are out in Workman’s Comp, you are looked at as being a “trouble maker” or an inconvenience. They just don’t care. All they want to know is when you are coming back to work.

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