When you think of the most dangerous occupations, nurse and orderly probably do not come to mind. After having represented injured workers for many years, Laura and I would both list nursing as one of the most dangerous occupations. We have both represented numerous nurses in the course of our careers. Most often, nurses are injured at work when they are lifting a patient or when they catch a patient who has fallen. Nurses are committed to serving their clients and helping them avoid further injury that they often sacfrice their open health to protect and serve the needs of their patients.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 22,000 nursing assistants were injured at work in 2013.
The difficult part of a back injury for a person with a workers' compensation claim is that they are typically intially diagnosed as a sprain/strain. Almost all soft tissue back injuries are diagnosed initially as a sprain/strain with the hope/belief that the injury will improve with time. Given this initial diagnosis, it can be hard for the injured worker to get the necessary follow-up care to properly diagnose and treat the injury. The insurance company often will not agree to pay for a follow-up with an orthopedist or pay for expesive CT and MRI testing to reveal the full extent of the injury.
In spite of these numbers showing the high rates of injury among nurses, there doesn't appear to be any effort by hospitals to provide more support to nurses to avoid this alarming trend.
Given the lack of help available, nurses will have to continue to follow the proverb - physician heal thyself - and fight to get the treatment and benefits that they deserve for doing their hazardous job.