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What occupational hazards do nurses face?

NewsPersonal Injury   November 17, 2018

When you decided to become a nurse, chances are, you did so because you have an innate desire to help those who are struggling or ailing. Regrettably, however, the nursing profession can be a highly dangerous one, and as someone who makes your living caring for others, you face specific job-related hazards that can hurt you or cause you hardship.

According to Jacksonville University, injuries and illnesses have become so common among nurses that in 2015, 12 out of every 100 nurses and residential care facility employees suffered or developed an injury or illness. Furthermore, the injury and illness rate is so high among those in this profession that it is now the second-highest in the nation, with only workers who make their living in aquaculture environments facing higher rates of on-the-job injuries and illnesses. Just what types of occupational hazards do today’s nurses face?

Musculoskeletal disorders

Musculoskeletal disorders can take on any number of different forms, and they can also range broadly in terms of severity. Most nursing-related musculoskeletal disorders arise because nurses commonly have the responsibility of moving heavy, immobile patients. Over time, this can lead to sprains, strains and related injuries.

Exposure to dangerous substances

Nurses also run the risk of developing illnesses or ailments due to workplace exposure to dangerous substances. In some cases, those substances may include chemicals in cleaning products used in health care settings, but more commonly, nurses face risks because of exposure to bloodborne pathogens.


Unfortunately, violence is another common cause of injuries among nurses. In some cases, patients can turn violent and lash out at nurses and other facility staff, potentially causing gravely serious injuries. Some home health care workers also experience on-the-job violence while treating patients in their homes.

While these are some of the more common work-related injuries and ailments nurses suffer and develop, please note this is not an exhaustive list of all on-the-job hazards.