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Are you a nurse? Protect yourself from becoming a patient

by | Nov 26, 2017 | Blog

If your chosen field of study is the medical industry, you will likely face the hazards typically present in hospitals. As a nurse in Nebraska, you will have to learn about the risks in order to take the necessary precautions. Fortunately, safety guidelines and recommendations are in place to protect you.

If you are new to the hospital environment, you might be unprepared for the emotional impact that severely ill or critically injured patients can have on you. Note that a disturbed emotional balance can cause you to focus on the wrong things and forget about the fundamental steps that will ensure the safety of you and others around you.

Common hazards in hospitals

Being prepared will put you in a better position to cope with the common hazards in medical facilities and to avoid becoming a patient in the hospital in which you work. The following hazards are those that are most common in your chosen profession:

  • Bloodborne pathogens: Contact with human blood will expose you to microorganisms that are infectious and could cause diseases such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. Needlestick injuries or any puncture wounds by sharp objects may cause exposure. Safety training will teach you how to prevent this and what to do if you are exposed.
  • Dangerous chemicals: Be aware that working with chemicals can be hazardous. Any chemicals must have clear labels so that you know what you are handling. However, regardless of the type of chemical, make sure you wear the required protection such as goggles and gloves.
  • Stress: Take note that you will have to deal with the stressful situations that involve patients and their loved ones. Nurses who are not strong enough are susceptible to consequences such as insomnia, compromised work performance, and even developing drug or alcohol dependencies to help them cope. Counseling and stress-management programs are available to help those who struggle to cope.
  • Slip-and-fall hazards: These hazards are prevalent in the fast-paced and often unpredictable hospital environment. Look out for wet floors, poor lighting, trip hazards like hoses, cords and tubing along with loose runners or floor mats. Report any potential fall hazards immediately.
  • Latex allergies: Protecting yourself may become a catch-22 situation because you may wear latex gloves to protect you from dangerous pathogens, but the frequent use of these gloves can cause some health care workers to develop an allergy to latex. Look out for symptoms like runny or itchy nose or trouble breathing, and in severe cases, it can even lead to anaphylaxis, which is allergy-induced shock that could be fatal.

These are but some of the hazards that you will have to face in the medical environment. However, you may find comfort in knowing that the workers’ compensation program of Nebraska offers financial assistance for any person who suffers an on-the-job injury or contracts an occupational illness. The insurance benefits typically include coverage for medical expenses and lost income.