A nursing career can be rewarding in a variety of ways. Caring for and attending to human beings in their hour of need and seeing them get back on their feet can be quite fulfilling. But, just like other professionals, nurses contend with a range of work-related injuries. One of these is chronic back pain.
If you develop back pain that you can directly link to your nursing job, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits to cover your treatment costs, lost income, pain and suffering and loss of quality of life among other damages. But first, how do nurses suffer chronic back injuries?
Why nurses experience back injuries
Back injuries and chronic back pain might not immediately come to mind when most people think of nursing as an occupation. However, it’s not hard to find out why these injuries are common among these healthcare workers.
Part of a nurse’s job involves lifting and transporting patients. This puts them at the risk of both direct and/or cumulative injury that can build up over time due to repetitive motion. Moving a patient from the bed to a wheelchair or from the hospital’s chair to a commode can also subject a nurse to the risk of back injury. This can be worsened by the workload and posture among other organizational factors like a lack of proper lifting equipment.
Pursuing your workers’ compensation benefits
If you experience back pain that is work-related, you need to act in time lest you miss out on the benefits that you may be entitled to. First, you need to report your injury to your employer. Next, you need to seek a proper diagnosis so you can obtain evidence that ties your chronic back pain to your job. Finally, you need to file your workers’ compensation claim within the statute of limitations period. In California, this means filing your claim within one year from the date of your injury or when it was reasonably discovered.
Nursing can be a particularly hazardous occupation for a variety of reasons. The high-risk, fast-paced environment can lend itself to a range of work-related injuries like chronic back pains. If this happens to you, it is important that you understand and explore your legal options.