Nurses don’t need to be told their job can be hazardous. From lifting patients to being exposed to chemicals on a daily basis, nursing can be a risky profession. Yet CFOs and hospital administrators may not be aware of just how dangerous working in a medical environment can be. A new report published in the American Society of Safety Engineers’ Professional Safety journal noted that healthcare employees had the highest injury rates in 2011 compared to all other professions. This means, nursing is a more hazardous job than construction, manufacturing and even commercial fishing.
In total, 15.2 million healthcare employees were injured on the job that year. The most common injuries were sprains and strains, slips, trips and falls and chemical exposure. According to FierceHealthcare, the report noted injuries occurred most often to female workers who had been in their positions for more than five years and to employees who were between 45 and 54 years old.
And those injuries cost the healthcare industry a pretty penny. According to the report, occupational injuries cost the industry $13.1 billion in 2011, and resulted in more than 2 million lost workdays. The average time away from work was between five and seven days.
Many times, patients absorb the expense of worker injuries, according to the report.
“The costs associated with healthcare worker safety, also eventually trickle down to patient medical bills,” the Professional Safety article said. “For example, the cost of injuries in hospitals in 2011 exceeded $6.1 million, which required additional patient billing to offset the expense. Similar scenarios are true in nursing and residential care facilities and ambulatory health.”
Optimizing nurse-patient ratios by using hospital staffing and scheduling solutions may help reduce the number of worker injuries. When more nurses are on duty at one time, they may not have to rush to provide patient care, which is often a cause of sprains and falls.
Healthcare workforce trends brought to you by API Healthcare, the leader in healthcare-specific workforce management solutions.
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