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MANAGING THE OFFICE

Nurses’ work-related injuries and physical discomfort impact patient care

Findings of an independent survey conducted by Ergotron, a Nortek company that manufactures ergonomic workplace products, highlights many of the day-to-day difficulties nurses face with medical equipment, clinical workflow, electronic health records (EHRs), physical strain or injury and how these factors impact the delivery of quality patient care.

Of note, 60 percent of nurses worry that their job is negatively impacting their overall health, and one in 10 nurses were injured on the job in the past year. 

Nurse injuries have been well documented, but what is often not addressed is how their injuries and physical discomfort directly affect patient care. Survey findings show:

  • Nurses are less friendly or engaging with their patients (22 percent)
  • Nurses have to modify or limit their activity/movement on the job (22 percent)
  • Nurses are distracted (17 percent)
  • Nurses need more assistance from other staff (14 percent)

The impact of clinical design and ergonomic principles on the nurse or caregiver is often overlooked, and survey findings suggest a preference for supportive design and devices.

When asked what they would change in their work environment to support the prevention of discomfort, pain or injury to themselves and fellow nurses, 54 percent of nurses say they would increase nursing staff to alleviate workloads; 28 percent would instate a dedicated ergonomics team to help ensure equipment is ergonomically supportive to the staff; and 28 percent would redesign the physical space within patient rooms and on floors to better align with clinical workflow and patient needs.

In addition, 25 percent would update the furniture at the nursing station; 24 percent would update medical equipment and furniture in the patient room; and 22 percent would implement more point-of-care solutions throughout the floor with sit-to-stand functionality.

“Our goal with this survey was to better understand nurses’ feelings and opinions about the state of nursing today and what they believe will help improve clinical patient care moving forward,” says Steve Reinecke, assistant vice president of Ergotron Healthcare. “There is significant opportunity for healthcare providers to challenge the layout of their hospital rooms, the types of technology being used to capture patient information, and the ergonomic solutions nurses need in order to stay healthy and provide the best patient care possible.”

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