22 Jul Work Related Injuries
During your job as a nurse aide, you more than likely will receive some sort of injury. It’s no secret that working in the health care industry is hard work. Taking care of people and their every day needs is the hallmark of a certified nurse assistant’s job. This means that you will move people and do physical labor each day. You will use your arms, legs, and back to physically move people from bed to chair and back. Sometimes you will use heavy equipment to do this. In any job that has a large amount of physical labor there are also many chances to be injured. Sadly, nurse aides are injured quite often.
So, what do you do if you are hurt on the job? The first thing that any worker should do if they are hurt on the job is to report to their supervisor. This means as soon as the injury occurs. If you are in the middle of moving someone, hit the call bell and wait for assistance. Never try to keep moving a resident or patient if you are hurt. You can end up hurting yourself further or causing your resident to become injured if you cannot hold their weight.
After an injury you will usually be required to visit the employer’s doctor. This is for severe injuries – things other than a simple scratch. Sprains, strains, and other injuries will require a doctor visit. You will usually need to submit to a drug test. The doctor will take a report, then examine your injury. He will recommended a treatment. You may be placed on light duty or removed from duty entirely while your injury heals.
You may need to apply for short term disability payments while you are out of work if the doctor states you must be off-duty. These payments are much less than your regular paycheck. Light duty work will give you the same pay rate. Sometimes, an employer will hound light duty employees, occasionally to the point that the aide quits or finds themselves in a situation where he or she is fired. Pushing someone until they lose their temper is one tactic.
If you are on light duty you must not do any work that your doctor doesn’t approve. Doing so can leave you open to be fired or lose your medical benefits. If your employer is pushing you to do more work than you are allowed, contact your local labor board for instructions on what to do. You may end up needing to employ a lawyer, especially if you have been fired.
Hurt on the Job?
It is the rare nurse aide that doesn’t receive at least one injury on the job. With the amount of lifting, pulling, pushing, and other physical exertion we do, an injury is just a matter of time. Thankfully there are many machines that help make the job easier. There are, also, chances that you will be injured due to someone else’s negligence.
Your employer is responsible if you are hurt on the job. All employers must have insurance that will allow injured staff members to see a doctor. You may be required to see the doctor the employer’s insurance specifies, though you can have a second opinion if you do not agree with that doctor’s diagnosis. You may also need to submit to a mandatory drug test. This should be no problem as no nurse aide should ever be involved in illegal activities.
More often than we would like to think, employers will fight an employee’s right to proper medical care. Making it hard for an employee to work by barring them from light duty, asking them over and over when the employee can return to full duty, or cutting that employee’s hours. In extreme cases unscrupulous employers may fire the employee based on fraudulent reasons.
If an employee is injured the first thing she must do is report the injury to the employer. No matter how large or small the injury, it must be reported. While it might seem silly to report a scratch, that small abrasion could have been infected by whatever scratched the skin. Worse injuries need to be examined by the nurse supervisor on duty and then a doctor.
Employers that fail to follow such protocol should be reported. Make a note of when the accident occurred, the employer’s response, and if they allowed you to leave work for medical care or not. Being forced to stay on the job after a serious injury is grounds for a lawsuit. Injured or ill staff have protections from state labor boards in every state. After seeing a doctor you should report any barriers placed by your employer to the state labor board.
Not every employer will try to force employees to work while injured or not receive good medical care. The majority of health employers will make every effort to keep their nurse aides safe and healthy. These employers make an effort to educate aides and other staff about injury prevention and what to do if injured. Some even have a doctor on site!