Survey: 5 Key Insights into Clinician Workplace Injuries

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HHO-thumb1A recent survey from Nurture® by Steelcase found that escalating workplace demands on clinicians have increased the likelihood of them being injured on the job.

Nurture® by Steelcase focuses on developing user-centered healthcare solutions. According to the press release announcing the survey, Nurture “views the healthcare environment as an integral part of the healing process and provides holistic solutions that focus not only on product, but space as a whole, delivering research-driven, evidence-based solutions to complex problems in healthcare environments.”

Its 2013 State of Clinicians & Nurses Report revealed the following five insights that could influence how you, as healthcare executives, approach changes in your workplace:

1.)  Clinicians have a high risk of injury on the job.

According to the survey, “Thirty-five percent of clinicians and nurses report being injured at least once on the job, while 24 percent had to modify activity or movement during at least one shift.”

2.)  Bed-to-chair transfer causes most injuries.

Perhaps the biggest surprise in the survey was this finding: One-third of all clinicians and nurses have been injured during a bed-to-chair transfer. Considering that 47 percent in the survey perform transfers more than once each week, this is cause for alarm.

3.)  Clinicians and nurses try to personally maintain their health on the job.

On the other hand, this level of self-awareness is encouraging. Of those surveyed, 74 percent said they seek help from their colleagues in protecting themselves within the healthcare environment; 65 percent said they place a priority on personal fitness.

4.)  Clinicians and nurses desire one common change in their workplace.

This point is especially insightful. According to the survey, “While half feel their work environment is supportive in preventing discomfort, injury, or pain, the most desired change clinicians and nurses want out of their work environment centers around updating equipment and furniture (25 percent), followed by rearranging the physical space to be better aligned with patient needs (23 percent).”

5.)  Clinicians are more concerned with their patients being injured than they are with being injured themselves.

The study found that clinicians were more likely to get hurt than patients during patient movement,” the study noted. “Thirty-five percent of clinicians had been injured but only 10 percent of clinicians had patients who were injured.”

“Workplace health and safety risks are present in all business sectors; in healthcare, however, patient handling rises to the top of the list,” Rosalyn Cama, chair of the board of directors for The Center of Health Design and president and principal interior designer of CAMA, Inc., said. “Observing why and where these unsafe behaviors occur, identifying and researching the potential risks associated with these behaviors, imagining solutions that modify risky behavior and designing better tools to aid in their proper execution is what we, the evidence-based healthcare design community, expect from our industry partners. The resources in our kit-of-parts have to keep pace with our rapidly growing need to design safer environments in which to deliver care.”

Nurture’s conclusions were based on 303 online surveys from August 2013 of RNs, LPNs, nursing managers, physical therapists, occupation therapists, et al, from Canada and all four geographic regions of the United States. Conducted by Business Research Group (BRG), the survey’s margin of error was +/- 5.6 percent with a 95 percent confidence level.

As healthcare executives, what are you doing to ensure your clinicians and nurses are working in a safe environment? What initiatives and solutions have you found to be most effective?

-by Pete Fernbaugh

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