Many people say nursing is a calling, which is the opportunity to do something you want to do rather than having to do it. If you are a nurse in a medical facility in California, you will likely focus more on making an impact than on earning a paycheck. However, the reality is that most people need that paycheck to take care of themselves and their families.
For that reason, it might be a good idea for you to learn about the hazards of your occupation and the precautions you can take to mitigate them. Although your employer must protect your health and safety, risks in any medical facility are a given, and learning how to deal with them might keep you safe.
Although you will likely manage most of the stressful situations, the frequency of traumatic events and circumstances might be more than you anticipated. Do not disregard the impact of the following situations on your health:
- You may frequently be dealing with the distress of patients and their loved ones who have been traumatized by illness, injury or death. This can become challenging for your emotional health over the course of time.
- Working night shifts can take its toll, and the lack of sleep might exacerbate your stress levels.
- A combination of emotional distress and trauma daily can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder.
Taking time off and seeking counseling when things becomes overwhelming can prove invaluable to your current and future well-being.
The typical culture of safety in medical facilities must include not only patients but also extend to you and your colleagues in order to protect you from the following risks:
- Exposure to needle sticks and other sharp objects is par for the course in your occupation. Keep your vaccines up to date and never work without adequate protection.
- HIV, Hepatitis B, MRSA and tuberculosis are but some of the infections that could threaten you.
- Follow proper disposal protocols because most sharps injuries happen during disposal.
Follow prescribed safety standards when you work with chemicals, and take note of the following:
- Make sure never to rush when you work with hazardous chemicals.
- Be extra careful when you work with chemotherapy drugs.
- Do not disregard the hazards posed by sterilizing agents.
Physical injury hazards
The risks of physical injuries are ever-present in medical facilities. The following are some of the most prevalent:
- Overexertion can cause musculoskeletal injuries like muscle strains and sprained or torn ligaments.
- There is no shortage of slip-and-fall hazards in any hospital environment, and the same goes for trip hazards.
- Violence is a constant threat because you can never prepare for the psychosocial elements and mental health of patients and their relatives.
Seek immediate care for physical injuries to prevent long-term chronic pain and suffering.
Where to turn for help
There is no getting away from the fact that your occupation will pose numerous hazards with which you must deal throughout every shift you work. If despite your best efforts, you suffer occupational injuries or infections and illnesses, the California workers’ compensation will be there to provide financial assistance. An experienced attorney can deal with the benefits claim on your behalf, allowing you to better focus on your recovery.