Heavy lifting: How to avoid back injuries as a nurse

Nurses are some of the hardest working people on the Earth. They focus on their patients, lift them, move them and give them medications. They care for them while keeping in touch with their families. They work long hours and often don't get the rest they need.

As a result of the difficulties of the job, it's easy for nurses to get hurt. One wrong move is all it takes to end up with a career-ending injury. Fortunately, there are a few ways to avoid back injuries, so you can continue doing the job you love for longer.

1. Get help from a colleague

If you have no machinery to help you lift a patient or move him or her from a bed to a wheelchair, it's a good idea to ask for help. Even if you don't think you need help, having a second pair of hands could be helpful if the individual begins to slip, is heavier than other patients or is unconscious.

2. Keep in shape

Another thing you should do is to keep in shape. Back injuries are more likely if you're overweight or trying to lift more than your body is capable of. Try working out with weights to increase your strength, and make sure to target your core to support your spine.

3. Find alternatives

Many hospitals now have electronic lift systems to help move patients without the need for as much manual labor. Using these systems helps prevent injuries, so if your hospital or clinic doesn't yet have one, it's time to speak up and ask if it's a possibility.

These are three ways to reduce your risk of serious injuries on the job. By looking for support or alternatives and staying in shape, you'll be more likely to have a long-lasting career in nursing.

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