January 24, 2018 |
Overtime, Large Workload Increases Risk for New Nurse Injury
August 21, 2015  | 

New York, NY - Young nurses, those working night shifts and longer hours at higher risk for needle sticks, muscle strains and sprains.

Strains, sprains and needle sticks are among the most common non-fatal injuries associated with nursing, and research suggests that newly licensed nurses are at greater risk for these injuries than their more experienced counterparts.

A new study conducted by RN Work Project, and published in the International Journal of Nursing Studies, finds that the higher risk is associated with working longer hours and higher than average workloads. Amy Witkoski Stimpfel, PhD, RN, assistant professor at the College of Nursing, New York University, led the research team. The RN Work Project is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Nurses who provide direct care frequently lift, turn, and transfer patients. They also inject medications and insert intravenous lines. These activities can result in muscle strains and sprains and inadvertent needle sticks. Despite national policy changes, new hospital regulations, and improvements in health care technology, these two types of injuries persist among health care workers, particularly those with fewer than five years of experience.

The RN Work Project research team found that nurses who worked nights and weekly overtime of eight hours or more reported needle stick injuries and strains and sprains more often than nurses who do not.

Needle-stick injuries were also more common among nurses who were younger than 30, had a higher than average workload, and lower than average autonomy (in this case, defined as the ability to work independently of others). Strains and sprains were more common among nurses who worked the night shift, had a higher-than-average workload, and were in poor health. Nurses working in geographical areas with more job opportunities for nurses than average also had a higher risk of muscle strains and sprains. Continue>

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