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Why aren’t hospitals doing more to protect nurses from injuries?

Written by Ankin Law Office

Nursing injuries are a rampant problem, even in the well-respected hospitals of Illinois. According to National Public Radio’s series on the subject, the annual rate of nursing injuries is over 35,000. In most cases, these injuries are the result of lifting and transporting patients. This is a serious problem that requires immediate attention, as any medical malpractice attorney in Cook County would attest.

Solutions already exist

Given the severe impact of nursing injuries on the healthcare industry, some might think that there is no solution to the problem. This, however, is not the case. According to NPR, many studies have indicated that nursing injuries are greatly reduced when hospitals invest in ergonomic equipment. These devices are used to help nurses move and lift patients. One federal study reported a 40 percent reduction in nurse injuries after the implementation of such equipment in U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals.

Addressing implementation issues

While ergonomic solutions to nursing injuries already exist, the problem is still extensive. According to the American Nurses Association, this is due in to the perception that this equipment is too expensive. In addition, many hospital administrators believe that their nurses will refuse to use such equipment.

The ANA refutes these claims, stating that the successful implementation of ergonomic solutions is very possible. However, the association notes that nurses should be provided with an opportunity to weigh in on equipment options. The ANA explains that doing so will increase hospitals’ ability to gauge which types of equipment will work best for their nurses. This, in turn, will encourage nurses to use the equipment regularly.

Legislative remedies

NPR notes there have been efforts to address nursing injuries through legislation and regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. These efforts, however, have been largely unsuccessful. There are no specific Illinois laws dealing with the problem. In addition, local nursing organizations, such as the Illinois Nurses Association, are not currently sponsoring any such legislation. A medical malpractice attorney in Cook County would note that laws specifically dealing with the problem may drastically reduce nursing injuries in this state.

Nurses are an extremely important part of the American healthcare system. As such, it is important that these professionals receive the support they need to do their jobs properly. Providing them with equipment that allows them to work safely would go a long way toward this goal. Nurses who have suffered injuries may find it helpful to speak with a medical malpractice attorney in Cook County. This may offer an opportunity to learn about the legal options available to nurses hurt on the job.