All assignment. Nurses must take responsibility to make sure

All across the world healthcare professionals and
organizations are dealing with the same issue, nursing workplace hazards and
the effects it has on nurses and healthcare. Nursing Hazards have been a
significant topic of discussion for many health professionals and
organizations. Nurses are continuously reporting the issue of injury and
illness. The duties that nurses are tasked with put them at an everyday risk of
different types of hazards. The safety of employees and health organizations
depends on nursing hazards being identified and managed with knowledge, skill,
and assessment. It is the fundamental right of health professionals to feel
safe at work and to feel safe hazards must be identified and managed. Nurses face exposure to workplace hazards
such as blood pathogens and other body fluids, chemicals in the form of solid,
liquid or gas, needle sticks, latex allergy, spills, equipment malfunction, the
physical strain of the body, and workload. These hazards are under the broad
category of biological, chemical, physical, safety, and ergonomic and work
organization hazards. The following paper is going to look at
workplace hazards and the effects it has on nursing staff. It will also look at
how this issue that is plaguing not only the United States but the world can be
managed or resolved.

The risk of
infectious diseases for nurses is not just in different sections of hospitals
but in other workplace settings that nurses also work, such as prisons, nursing
homes, institutions and outpatient facilities. Infectious diseases such as
(HIV, HCV, and HBV) due to needle-stick injuries are risks to the health and
life of nurses. Alavi (2014) found that “600000 to 800000 needle stick
injuries occur each year in all healthcare settings. Injections (21%), suturing
(17%), and drawing blood (16%) are the main causes of exposures (11). Severe
acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), tuberculosis, and methicillin resistant
staphylococcus infection are other infectious diseases that can afflict nurses”.
HBV is one of the most significant exposures for healthcare professionals,
especially traveling nurses due to injection diseases while they are on
assignment. Nurses must take responsibility to make sure they are immune with
direct patient care responsibilities.

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Chemical hazards
are also another source of hazard nurses face in the workplace. Materials used
for patient treatment and maintaining a proper environment, for example, disinfectants
and sterility products such as ethylene oxide, glutaraldehyde, hazardous drugs
used for chemotherapy, and latex exposure are among some of the chemical
substances that are hazardous to nurses. Nurses are exposed to these different
kinds and mixtures of chemicals and hazardous agents each year in their
clinical practice.

Similarly, nurses
also face hazards such as workplace violence and exposure to hazards such as
radiation. Exposure to radiation is associated with mutations and teratogenic
properties which can cause stillbirth, miscarriages and other reproductive
issues as well as different types of cancers. Nurses, especially those in the
emergency department face exposure and are also prone to workplace violence. “According
to a 2011 study by the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA), the 53.4% of nurses
reported experiencing verbal abuse and more than one in 10 (12.9%) reported
experiencing physical violence (13)” (Alavi, 2014). Because patient’s mental
and physical health is always changing nurses are still facing the most
injuries than most occupations. The rate of injuries that nurses encounter is
the second highest just behind construction workers. Medication, confusion, and
stress are all factors that may contribute to a patient’s behavior that puts a
nurse in a hostile work environment. And also the subtle changes in patients
during ambulation or transfers because of their unpredictability can lead to
musculoskeletal injuries acquired by nurses after trying to stop a patient from
getting injured.

Which leads me to the safety hazards nurses face on a daily
basis, risks such as slips, trips, and falls. Work-related slips, trips, and
fall incidents are serious hazards that can result in disabling injuries that
could affect a nurse’s ability to do their job and also result in losing the
ability to work, lost work time, compensation claims, and the reduced ability
to care for patients. Most slips, trips, and falls are associated with hazards
that could be easily minimized, hazards such as bodily fluids, water, grease,
and gel that has spilled on the floor. Nursing home workers are the ones who
experience more slip, trip, and fall-related injury claims than any other
industry in the workforce. Bell et al. (2013) found thatThe objective of this research was to describe the slip, trip, and fall
injury experience and trends in a population of nursing home workers, identify
risk factors for slip, trip, and fall injuries, and develop prevention strategies
for slip, trip, and fall hazards. Workers’ compensation injury claims data and
payroll data from 1996 through 2003 were obtained from six nursing homes and
used to calculate injury incidence rates. Narrative information was used to
describe details of slip, trip, and fall events. A total of 86 slip, trip, and
fall-related workers’ compensation claims were filed during the 8-year period.
Slip, trip, and fall claim rates showed a nonsignificant increase during the
8-year period. Most slips, trips, and falls were attributed to hazards that can
be mitigated (e.g., water on the floor or loose cords in a walkway). Nursing
home workers experience more slip, trip, and fall-related injury claims than
workers in other industries. Preventive programs should be implemented and
evaluated in this industry. “Slips,
trips, and falls account for the second largest proportion of lost-workday
nonfatal injuries (26%) in the nursing care facilities industry subsector (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011b). The incidence rate for nursing care
facilities surpasses that for all industries for same-level and total slips,
trips, and falls—19.5 versus 26.4 per 10,000 workers, respectively. Due to the
large number of nursing care facility workers, approximately 1.7 million (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011a), and a high incidence, 9,060
lost-workday slip, trip, and fall-related injuries occurred in this industry in
2010 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011c)”.

Nurses are always
on their feet for hours at a time, which means a physical strain on the body
which is a significant risk to nurses. Nurses have to lift and transfer
patients on a daily basis, and that is risky. Lifting and moving is the most
common cause of back injury among healthcare professionals. In 2005, Ramsay
found that with patient movement and handling “38% of all nurses are
affected by back injuries, nearly all of these injuries (98%) are due to nurses
lifting and moving patients manually (Meier, 2001). There were other
work-related musculoskeletal disorders found “studies of upper extremity
musculoskeletal disorders in nurses have reported prevalence rates of shoulder
problems in 43-53% of nurses (Lagerström et al., 1995) and neck injuries
between 31-48% (Ando et al., 2000)” (p. 3).

Additionally nurses that work with patients that are
terminally and chronically ill, and nurses that work in intensive care units,
burn unit, emergency room, or operating rooms are at risk for work-related
hazards. Work-related factors that contribute to stress could include life-threatening
situations or illnesses, injuries, workload, lack of respect, support or
teamwork, short staffing, scheduling or the passing of a patient. In many
hospitals, nurses might feel isolated, angry, fatigue and feel like they have no
power to act on a situation due to the loss of personal identity created by those
in a higher level of control. When these signs of stress are not seen and dealt
with, it might cause a burnout. Stress-related symptoms can lead to a downward
spiral with drugs, alcohol, and the use of cigarettes. The characteristics and
behavior of the nurse could change and be affected negatively, which can lead
to average job performance, fatigue and an increase in not being present in the
job. In 2014, Alavi found in a study that “43.4% of nurses reported excessive
fatigue (6). Raftopoulos et al. also reported that 91.9% of Cypriot nurses had
fatigue (10)” (p. 1).

Nurses are always facing many dangers in the healthcare
field, and these risks must be addressed for the nursing workforce to thrive.
The first step to managing this problem is to address the issue of these
hazards. If the issue can be resolved, then the medical field can start
thinking about the strategizing, categorizing and coming up with methods such
as information, training, and instruction on how to handle such critical
issues. The effectiveness of various nursing functions should be considered
when developing a prevention program. Protocols can be created which takes into
account the evaluation and sharing of specific tasks to specific nurses and
identifying those that need assistance and the type of aid that is required.
Providing training and orientation concerning physical hazards such as lifting
techniques when people are hired or reassigned would be a useful way to prevent
hazards. The management of hazards regarding workload could include having a
regularly scheduled staff meeting with the development of programs for managing
stress and also coping mechanisms. An application for employees who need assistance,
the ability to be flexible in the development and participation of work
schedules, receiving the appropriate education and training sessions, and creating
an organized and productive work environment to the level that is of high
standards. Recognizing and taking action against complaints made that are
hazardous, security in dangerous areas, and the use of therapy or support
groups to help employees deal with professional problems.

Nurses are subject to workplace hazards through their
interaction with patient’s, the environment and the demands of the job. The job
demands of nurses put them in risky and hazardous situations on a daily basis.
The safety of employees and health organizations depends on nursing hazards
being identified and managed with knowledge, skill, and assessment. It is the
primary right of health professionals to feel safe at work and to feel safe
hazards must be identified and managed. If nursing hazards are identified and
managed, then that improves the nurse supervisor and the nurse’s ability to
know what to expect. When these risks are identified and controlled in the
nursing workplace, then we can improve job satisfaction and reduce job
resignation. The management of these hazards could also suggest the reduction
in needle sticks, the increased use of personal protective equipment, better
precautions, being efficient and protecting yourself from harm. Which as a
result would show that nurses that are trained better would be better at
protecting themselves from job-related risks and would show higher job
satisfaction levels, less stress, and reduced job resignation. Great
organizations make sure that they learn from their mistakes and ensure that
their employees are safe, rather than just blame their employees. 

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