Nursing when you are broken – Injured Nurses

I have been kicking around for a little while; long enough to know that some of my coworkers work in terrible physical pain.

I had been a nurse for about three years when I tore my trapezius moving a patient.  The correct safe patient handling equipment was all covered in stool, and there were no more in the house. lift1 I always used available safety equipment if possible, but the poor woman had C Diff, the family refused to let me insert a fecal management system for some weird reason, and she had defecated on the entire supply of maxislides over the weekend.  Though I asked for more of them, none were available until Monday.  On Sunday night, I finally tore my trapezius. She weighed over 400 lbs, and could not even help you a little.  She was pretty sick.

I went to employee health at the end of the shift, and was essentially rudely grilled about why I did not use the patient handling equipment.  

Surprised, and in pain, I told her that the hospital was out of them.  She actually rolled her eyes.  And it was on. And a weeks-long fight with HR began.

Ultimately, my shoulder healed fine. sphm However, it was one of the reasons I left this employer.  I constantly had three heavy patients in the ICU, and when they were unable to keep proper equipment in stock, I was blamed for my injury.  Not cool.

I have friends who work in pain every single day.  Almost every one of them was injured at work.  And I would say that 80% fail to report their injury.  They know what will happen.  A good friend of mine is currently unable to work in her specialty because of a clear work-related injury.  The doctor they sent her to obviously mixed up her notes with another patient’s, wrote stuff in her chart that never happened, and her Worker’s comp claim was denied.  And she is unable to stand for more than 5 minutes at a time.

It is time that healthcare corporations are held accountable for the dangerous work we do.  I am sick of hearing about WC claims being denied where clear injury is present.  They have a responsibility to provide a safe environment.  Are you going to hold them to it?

Love,

Janie

 

 

 

 

 

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Author Janie Garner

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Join the discussion 8 Comments

  • Lisa says:

    So awful. The conditions nurses work under because they have no choice. Makes me angry and sad

  • Suzy says:

    I would really like to see a future column addressing nursing when you are emotionally broken. My heart hurts all the time because i love what i do but doing it absolutely drains me every day. But im the breadwinner with a mortgage, and two kids in college. So im stuck. I cry on the way to work. I feel like crying again on the way home, but im so spent, i cant muster a tear.

  • RehabRN says:

    We also need nursing staff to use the equipment and yes, speak up when supplies are missing.

    Our facility has equipment, people do not use it, then folks, including visitors, are hurt. If you have the equipment, what happened that you were hurt?

    I care about my body and my patients. I’m not moving someone if it’s not safe. End of story.

    “We’ve always done it that way,” doesn’t cut it. Friends don’t let friends use unsafe patient handling methods. PERIOD.

    • Janie Garner says:

      AGREE SO MUCH! I am a safe patient handling peer leader at my facility, and we haven’t manually moved a patient in my department in over a year. I am a huge proponent of using the darn equipment. I am about to start timing nurses who don;t use the equipment vs the ones who do! It’s so silly. MY spine will not sustain another injury.

  • Linda Kirk says:

    Wonderfully written. As was already stated, not all wounds show.

  • Jill Anderson says:

    I am a nurse practitioner and I do workmans comp. I always document the mechanism of injury. So important. And whether or not safety equipment was used and/or available. So important. Rare for me to see a work comp claim rejected. Though I’m sure it happens.

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