There is a lot to think about when you are a nurse. But, first, you have to be careful with everything you do because your actions could seriously impact someone’s health. According to the WHO, nearly three million people worldwide die from work-related accidents or diseases.
Nurses are at high risk for on-the-job injuries due to the physically demanding nature of their job and the amount of time they spend on their feet. As a nurse, you are responsible for the safety and well-being of your patients. Therefore, it is important to be aware of potential risks in the workplace and take steps to protect yourself and your patients.
Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
1. Use proper body mechanics
When lifting patients or moving heavy equipment, use proper body mechanics. It will help prevent back injuries. As a nurse, you will be on your feet for long periods. Be sure to wear comfortable, supportive shoes and take breaks when you can. In addition, be sure to practice good posture.
At the same time, there are plenty of continuing medical professional courses available for nurses to stay updated on the latest medical procedures and practices. Texas is a great place to take these courses since the state is home to numerous highly ranked medical schools. Aspiring nursing professionals can enroll in accelerated BSN programs in Texas and other states across the US to earn their degrees in as little as 12 to 18 months.
2. Be aware of your surroundings
Pay attention to your surroundings and be aware of potential hazards. At the same time, be mindful of the location of emergency exits and equipment. As a nurse, you often have to work close to patients who may be contagious. When needed, wash your hands regularly and wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as gloves and masks. However, PPE should is not a substitute for good hand hygiene.
3. Communicate with your patients
Make sure to communicate with your patients and their families. Explain the procedures you will be performing and why they are necessary. It will help put your patients at ease and make them more cooperative.
Also, be sure to keep your patients informed of any changes in their condition. It will help them feel more comfortable and less anxious. However, do not share too much information with them. Patients have a right to privacy and should receive treatment with respect.
4. Follow infection control guidelines
Follow infection control guidelines to protect yourself and your patients from infection. For example, wash your hands regularly, wear gloves and masks when needed, and disinfect equipment after each use. In addition, be sure to get vaccinated against common diseases, such as influenza and hepatitis B. The reason is that, as a health care worker, you are at high risk for exposure to these diseases. And, if you are infected, you could easily spread the infection to your patients.
5. Use caution with needles and sharps
Use caution when handling needles and other sharps. Be sure to dispose of them properly in a puncture-proof container. Never leave needles or sharps lying around. In addition, do not try to remove a needle from a patient yourself. If a needle is stuck in a patient, call for help and let trained personnel deal with it. However, if you are stuck with a needle, do not panic. Instead, remove the needle carefully and seek medical help immediately.
6. Be prepared for emergencies
As a nurse, you should be ready for emergencies. Familiarize yourself with the location of the nearest first-aid kit and fire extinguisher. Know how to use them. Also, be sure to know the emergency procedures for your workplace.
In addition, it is a good idea to take a first-aid and CPR course. It will prepare you to deal with medical emergencies. And, if you are ever in a position to save a life, you will be glad that you did. However, remember that you should always call 911 first and then provide first-aid if you are trained.
7. Handle hazardous materials with care
Be sure to handle hazardous materials, such as chemicals and radioactive materials, with care. Follow the proper procedures for handling and storing these materials. Also, wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as gloves, masks, and goggles, when working with hazardous materials. More importantly, do not take these materials home with you.
8. Take breaks
Working long hours can be tiring. So be sure to take breaks and get plenty of rest. It will help you stay alert and prevent mistakes. Besides, you will be able to provide better care to your patients if you are well-rested.
However, do not take too many breaks. You must always be available to provide care to your patients. Also, do not use your break time to socialize with other employees. It is a time for you to relax and rejuvenate yourself. Most importantly, do not use your break time to make personal phone calls. It is because you could be needed at any time, and you need to be available.
9. Report unsafe conditions
If you see an unsafe condition, such as a wet floor or an overloaded electrical outlet, report it to your supervisor immediately. Do not try to fix the problem yourself. You must always follow proper safety procedures.
The importance of safety cannot be stressed enough. As a nurse, you are responsible for the protection of your patients. And the reason is that if something happens to you, it could harm the care that your patients receive. So remember, your safety is always paramount.
10. Seek help if you are injured
If you are injured on the job, seek medical help immediately. Do not try to tough it out. And do not return to work until a doctor has cleared you. Luckily, most workplaces have insurance that will cover the cost of your medical treatment. The reason is that if you try to tough it out, your injury could become worse. And, if you return to work before you are fully recovered, you could easily re-injure yourself.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that nurses play a vital role in the healthcare system. And as a nurse, you have a responsibility to provide safe and quality care to your patients. To do this, you must always follow proper safety procedures.
Safety is important for nurses. Follow infection control guidelines, get vaccinated against common diseases, and handle hazardous materials with care. Also, be prepared for emergencies and take breaks when you are tired. Finally, seek medical help if you are injured on the job.