The healthcare professions are rewarding, stimulating, prestigious, and lucrative. Few other professionals can say that their daily task is to save lives. At the same time, working in the healthcare industry can also be very demanding. The long working hours and the intense physical and mental effort can take their toll on the body.
Employers in the healthcare industry have the duty to acknowledge the risks associated with each job position and environment and take the proper measures to minimize these risks.
What are the risks of working as a healthcare professional? Let’s find out.
All healthcare professionals whose tasks include patient handling are at high risk of musculoskeletal injuries. Paramedics, physical therapists, and nurses are responsible for lifting, transferring, and repositioning patients. Their work requires intense physical effort all day long, so they have high rates of back injuries. Preventing back injuries for nurses is not impossible, however.
Nurses and all personnel at risk need regular breaks. They also need special machinery and equipment that can make physical jobs easier. Employers should encourage healthcare workers to ask for help when faced with a physically demanding task.
Some healthcare professionals encounter many pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites daily. They are constantly exposed to infections because they are in direct contact with blood and body fluids. All healthcare professionals receive thorough training on the proper disposal of medical waste such as sharp objects or needles. However, the medical environment is highly stressful and fast-paced, and healthcare professionals work long shifts. These conditions can increase the risk of mistakes.
Healthcare professionals must respect safety procedures strictly to eliminate the risks of infections. Using protective gear, treating all blood and fluid samples as infectious, and disposing of needles correctly are critical safety rules.
Assault or Abuse
Patients come to healthcare facilities with a vast range of physical problems that reflect on their state of mind. Some are agitated, scared, or downright hostile to healthcare professionals. Statistics show that healthcare workers face verbal and physical abuse on a worrying scale. To work through their negative feelings, patients make threats, shout, refuse medical treatment, or refuse to let the healthcare workers touch them.
Do some patients go as far as to cause severe physical harm to healthcare professionals? Unfortunately, incidents like this happen every once in a while.
The healthcare industry is a stressful work environment. Healthcare professionals work long hours, handle many patients every day, and often have an excess of shift duties on their list. The huge responsibility on their shoulders leads to consistently high levels of stress.
According to numerous studies, stress is correlated with severe health conditions. It can lead to heart disease, obesity, depression, cancer, insomnia, or skin diseases. Experts call it the silent killer, so healthcare professionals shouldn’t underestimate its effects. There are many effective ways to minimize stress, including exercise and meditation.
Are you a healthcare professional or aspire to work in the healthcare industry? Take the proper steps to protect your health and well-being.