Hint: it’s nursing.

Here is a grim statistic: Of all professions, the one with the highest rate of nonfatal occupational injuries is nursing. Worse than mining, construction, or manufacturing. [U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics].

Aching backs and more

These are the kinds of dangers nurses face every day:

Back injuries. The biggest injury threat for the profession is strains, sprains and damage to disks – from lifting and moving patients. [American Nurses Association]. And lifting has not gone away with the arrival of improved turning technologies. Fully 42 percent of nurses in an ANA survey say they must still muscle patients to their feet, or to turn them over in their beds.

Doing too much. Nurses and other hospital workers have seven times as many musculoskeletal disorders as average workers. When shifts are understaffed, nurses feel they must perform tasks they really need assistance with.

Doing too often. Repetitive stress injuries take a terrible toll of wrists and other joints.

Needle sticks. Despite vigilance about sharps, healthcare workers continue to be exposed to needles, scalpels and other instruments that can puncture and sicken or infect the nurse.

Assault. Hospitals are surprisingly violent places. Patients in distress sometimes lash out at those seeking to help them. One in four nurses claim they have been assaulted at work – by patients, other staff, or complete strangers. In addition to physical assault, many nurses are subjected to bullying behaviors.

Slips and falls. Hospitals can be slippery places. Falls are a major source of injury in the healthcare sector.

It’s a hard, hard job. The ANA study shows that 82 percent of nurses describe the daily grind of helping people heal as extremely stressful.

When injuries happen, hospital workers often need experienced lawyers to help them obtain the compensation they need for lost pay and their own high medical costs. We hope none of these injuries have happened to you. But if you have been hurt, and are still hurt, let’s talk about your options.