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Are Nurses at Risk for Repetitive Stress Injuries?

John Lesaganich April 16, 2019

Whether administering medication or typing notes into patient records, nurses have many daily duties that require some sort of physical exertion. When this constant physical effort leads to continual motions that put strain on nurses’ bodies, repetitive stress injuries (RSI) can occur.

RSI are commonly associated with office workers typing on computers every day. However, RSI can occur in a wide array of industries across Illinois workplaces, from factory workers moving products on an assembly line to retail workers hanging clothes to nurses caring for patients and more.

What Are Repetitive Stress Injuries?

Carpal tunnel syndrome, affecting the hands and wrists, is the most commonly associated injury with repetitive stress injuries. Other common injuries include tendinitis and severe injuries to the back, neck, shoulders and even feet.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, common symptoms of RSI can include:

  • A dull and worsening pain in the hands, wrist, back or more

  • A tingling sensation in the affected area

  • Throbbing pain that worsens with use

  • Loss of feeling or strength in the affected area

  • Lack of flexibility or mobility

Symptoms may vary depending on the specific cause of your injury. Many times, symptoms appear gradually over time and eventually become so painful that you can no longer ignore the injury.

Why Are Nurses at Risk?

Whether you work at a Peoria clinic or hospital, nurses perform a range of physical duties every day. These duties can include adjusting patients in hospital rooms, using equipment, administering medicine, typing and even holding physically awkward postures for an extended period of time, like leaning over or extending an arm or hand.

What Nurses Can Do?

To prevent RSI, acknowledge that the work you do could cause an Injury and take steps to prevent it, like taking small breaks from strenuous activities, requesting ergonomic or more accommodating conditions and more. When you suffer RSI in the workplace, it is important to notify your supervisor as soon as possible. Because RSI can occur over time, you may not notice your injury until weeks or even months after you first noticed some pain in the affected area. Notifying your employer immediately can help in pursuing the compensation you need to recover through a workers’ compensation claim.