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Hospital Staff Fear More for Patients Than for Themselves

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 01 Jan 2014
A new survey reveals that while clinicians and nurses are susceptible to work injuries, the risk of patient injury is a greater concern.

Undertaken by research firm Business Research Group (BRG; London, United Kingdom) for Nurture (Grand Rapids, MI, USA), which provides user-centered solutions in healthcare, the 303 online surveys were conducted between July 31 and August 30, 2013, by US respondents with at least one year of experience with patient care that included registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), nursing managers, physical therapists, and occupation therapists, with equal representation of the four US regions (Northeast, Midwest, South, and West) and Canada.

According to the survey, clinicians and nurses are highly vulnerable to work injuries, causing them to miss shifts or alter their activities while on the job. The bulk of injuries are due to patient transfers, where one in three clinicians and nurses has experienced an injury in moving patients from bed to chair. Nearly half (47%) of those surveyed perform patient transfers more than once a week. While a vast majority reports a low to moderate level of fear/concern around their jobs, risk of patient injury (31%) is a greater concern amongst surveyed clinicians and nurses than risk of personal injury (20%).

Conversely, patient injuries occur less often than staff injuries; while 35% of clinicians and nurses reported being injured at least once on the job, only 10% reported at least one of their patients has been injured while on the job. To maintain health and safety on the job, most clinicians and nurses rely on help from colleagues (74%) or choose to stay fit (65%). While half feel their work environment is supportive in preventing discomfort, injury, or pain, the most desired change clinicians and nurses want out of their work environment centers around updating equipment and furniture (25%), followed by rearranging the physical space to be better aligned with patient needs (23%).

“Given clinicians and nurses have so much direct contact with patients, their roles are becoming ever more important to the healthcare environment and patient satisfaction,” said Alan Rheault, director of industrial design at Nurture. “Yet we find that clinicians and nurses still experience a high rate of injuries on the job despite working in supportive environments, which then begs the question: What does the healthcare industry need to do to ensure caregivers’ work environments pose lower risk and encourage greater well-being for everyone?”

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