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Workplace Safety

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Making the decision to become a nurse is a tough decision. The nurse has to put aside their feelings, beliefs and judgments in order to provide the best possible care for their patients. Being a nurse can be a rewarding career but there are risks associated with the profession. Nurses not only face injuries from patient care but they also face violence in the workplace.

Nurses face injury from needle sticks, handling hazardous drugs such as cancer drugs, musculoskeletal injuries from lifting and transferring patients, exposure to body fluids, and violence in the workplace. Nurses are at a higher risk of injury if they do shift work. Working long hours back to back can wear the nurse out and increase the risks of injury to the patient and to the nurse.

Nurses are at an increased risk of injuries from needle sticks. Infectious diseases, especially blood-borne viruses are transmitted by needle stick injuries. The greatest concern is injection of injection fluids, especially blood even with the potential for injecting hazardous drugs. Some hospitals report one third of nursing staff suffer such injuries each year. Nurses sustained the largest number of exposures at 485 and needle stick injuries were the most common at 320 (Needlestick Injuries, 2005). Nurses can lower their risk of needle stick injuries by not recapping the needle, placing the used needle in the sharps container and using needles where the needle is retracted back after the medication is injected.

Nurses can experience injuries from hazardous drugs. Nurses that have to administer hazardous drugs daily are at an increased risk for experiencing problems from the drugs. Studies have shown that workplace exposures to hazardous drugs can cause both acute and chroni...

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