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The passion of the nurse

In a 2015 study, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that approximately five of every 1,000 registered nurses in the United States missed work due to injury. Of all the physical damage these medical professionals face on a daily basis, back injuries topped the list.

Few occupations are more hazardous and more misunderstood. Misconceptions continue to surround day-to-day duties. Many do not see nursing as tough physical work normally associated with hard labor. However, another analysis of the profession showed that nurses rank 11th among categories of workers most likely to be hurt on the job.

Heavy lifting of patients is a major part of their job while the average weight of the population is on the increase. Adult Americans considered obese rose from 30.5 to 37.7 percent from 2000 to 2014.

Transferring a patient from a gurney to a bed over time can lead to cumulative effects from continuing lifting and movie. Over the long-term, debilitating and potentially career-ending musculoskeletal injuries can occur.

Nursing injuries are gaining the attention of national organizations and state legislatures. Many lawmakers have proposed and passed legislation requiring special training for nurses on safe handling of patients. Nursing schools responsible for educating the newest batch of nurses are adjusting their curriculum to focus more on safety. A growing emphasis on good body dynamics is an important step to reduce the risk of injury.

Regardless of legislation, training, handouts and frequent reminders, injuries will still occur. Nurses are by nature caregivers dedicated to both their profession and the people they care for. Far too often, that passion translates into putting the health of their patients over their own well-being.

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