Nurses already have a tough job treating illnesses and injuries of patients. But what if the emergency room is understaffed? This can lead to a high-stress environment, longer hours, and an elevated risk of sustaining injuries and illnesses on the job.
If you're a nurse in Ohio who has sustained an injury on the job, you may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. At Hochman & Plunkett Co., L.P.A., we've seen the devastating injuries that nurse fatigue has caused, and we're here to help you weigh your options.
Understaffed and overworked
The Emergency Nurses Association recently released a draft position statement calling for adequate emergency nurse staffing to reduce fatigue, according to Safety + Health, the official magazine of the National Safety Council Congress and Expo. Nurse fatigue, the association notes, can lead to serious health complications and job-related injuries.
"It is fundamental when conducting any evaluation of staffing and productivity to include the impact on emergency nurse safety," the statement reads. The organization recommends that any emergency department be staffed by an absolute minimum of two registered nurses around the clock, with additional staffing as needed depending on the number of patients, level of care, nursing competencies and skill mix, number of supporting personnel (such as nursing assistants and security staff) and other site-specific factors.
Nurses face numerous health hazards on the job, including:
- Exposure to illnesses
- Needle sticks
- Trip and falls in narrow and cluttered walkways
- Strains and other injuries from lifting patients
- Assaults by unstable and violent patients
While some of these risks will always exist in a healthcare setting, they can be minimized in an adequately staffed facility. For example, with adequate staff presence, violent patients can be quickly contained by security personnel and walkways and corridors can be kept clear of hazards. But when there aren't enough staff, the results can be devastating.
Some states, including Ohio, recognize the issue. A bill that would allow nurses in the state to refuse working mandatory overtime passed the state House, Safety + Health also reported. If this legislation is approved by the Senate and signed by the governor, Ohio would become the 19th state to ban mandatory nurse overtime. This, in turn, could reduce the likelihood of nurses sustaining injuries on the job.
The simple reality is that tired and overworked nurses are at an elevated risk of sustaining injuries. If you're a nurse who has been hurt on the job, you need an experienced attorney on your side. An attorney at Hochman & Plunkett Co., L.P.A. can help guide you through the process. We will aggressively protect your legal rights. For your convenience, we have offices in Dayton, Troy, Springfield and Cincinnati. Contact us today to set up a free initial consultation.