Nurses: Get Serious About Your Safety

Let’s face it: Nursing is a more hazardous profession than, say, accounting. As a nurse in or around Gainesville, GA, you face many dangers on a daily basis — it’s important for you to look out for your own health, not just the health of your patients!


Chemical Hazards

Nurses face all sorts of chemical hazards on the job, whether they’re treating patients or sterilizing a surgical ward. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) notes that chemicals are used in the healthcare world for three main purposes: to treat patients; to clean, disinfect and sterilize work surfaces and instruments; and as a fixative for tissue specimens. Ethylene oxide, glutaraldehyde, anesthetic gas, bleach, antineoplastic drugs and formaldehyde are just a few examples of dangerous chemicals nurses use regularly.

Wearing the proper safety equipment is key to protecting yourself against hazardous chemicals. This includes masks, eyewear and gloves. Follow your medical facility’s guidelines precisely to keep yourself protected when treating patients or cleaning and sterilizing equipment.


Physical Hazards

Physical hazards often come along with the nursing profession — after all, you’re frequently lifting or moving heavy objects (including patients) and you are on your feet for most of the workday. Muscle strains, musculoskeletal injuries and chronic back pain are very common among nurses. Plus, you’re at risk for injury from needles, scalpels and other sharp objects you’re working around.

Do your best to maintain good posture throughout your shift. Lift and move objects using your knees, not your back. Wear comfortable shoes with solid cushioning and plenty of arch support, and replace them once they start to wear out. Reduce the risk of injury from needles and sharp objects by following proper protocol and wearing protective gear.


Mental and Emotional Hazards

Don’t forget that nurses face another kind of hazard on the job beside the tactile ones — the job can take a mental and emotional toll as well. Nurses work long hours, often overnight, and hold the health and well-being of other people in their hands. Patients can be difficult, even verbally, emotionally or physically abusing their nurses. All of this makes for a stressful work environment, and the pressures of the job can stick with nurses even after their shifts are over.

Take care of yourself by relaxing and recharging away from work — exercise, practice yoga or meditation, treat yourself to a spa day. If you are struggling, talk to a mental health professional.


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