Nurses form an integral part of our nation’s healthcare system and for the past year we have come to understand just how important, brave and necessary nurses are. While many nurses in North Carolina are wholeheartedly committed to their profession, nurses often suffer on-the-job work injuries, especially back injuries.
Back injuries in the nursing profession
Back injuries are common in the nursing profession. Nurses often must lift and move patients, push heavy loads and bend and stoop on a daily basis. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reports that, back injuries are the second most common on the job injury among nurses in the U.S., and nurses have the highest rate of back injuries among workers in the healthcare industry. As many as 40% to 50% of nurses a year report having back pain due to work, and 35% to 80% of nurses report having back pain throughout their lifetime due to work.
What to do if you suffer a back injury at work
If, as a nurse, you suffer a back injury at work that keeps you from being able to report to your job, you may want to pursue workers’ compensation benefits.
First, report your injury to your employer and seek the medical aid you need. Some employers have physicians on the work site and may require you to see them or another physician of their choosing first. If your employer does not have a designated physician, you can seek care from a physician of your choosing. If your injury is serious, you should seek help at a hospital emergency room.
Second, let the physician know that you were injured on the job and give your physician the name of your workplace. This way, the physician can bill the visit as a workers’ compensation claim.
Third, as soon as you can, let your employer know that you were injured on the job. You can do so in person, but if your injury prevents this, a relative, friend or physician can let your employer know you were injured on the job as soon as possible.
Fourth, within 30 days of your injury, provide your employer with written notice containing the date you suffered the injury and a brief description of it. If you are unable to write due to your injury, a relative or friend can do so on your behalf.
Fifth, continue following your healthcare provider’s instructions for medical treatment. This way you can heal fully so you can ultimately return to work.
Workers’ comp can help make ends meet
Workers’ comp can go a long way in helping you make ends meet financially when you cannot work due to a back injury. It is important to seek any benefits you are entitled to, to help you through a difficult time.