Nursing News: Safety in Nursing on the Rise

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, May 24th, 2012

There’s positive news when it comes to safety in nursing. A recent American Nurses Association survey found that RN work environments are safer than a decade ago, but nurses’ top three concerns remain the same: stress and overwork, musculoskeletal injury, and catching an infection.

According to the group’s 2011 Health and Safety Survey of 4,614 RNs, more hospitals provide patient lifting equipment and needles with safety devices, and fewer nurses are physically and verbally abused on-the-job.

However, 80% of respondents said they continued to work despite frequent neck, back, or shoulder pain, and 13% reported three or more on-the-job injuries within a year, up from 7% in 2001. Meanwhile, typical shift lengths have increased, with 56% of respondents reporting that a normal shift lasts 10 or more hours, compared with 48% in 2001. However, 55% of RNs said they worked 40 hours per week or more, down from 64% in 2001.

ANA states that safe work environments are crucial to maintaining an adequate nursing workforce. About 60% of RNs surveyed said safety concerns and stressful working conditions influence their decision to continue practicing in the nursing field.

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