Working in the health care industry can be an incredibly rewarding experience. From helping patients to finding the perfect treatment plan, few other careers offer the same satisfaction. Unfortunately, worker satisfaction is not where this industry peaks. Instead, it is number one for worker injuries.
As a doctor or nurse, you already understand there are risks associated with your chosen profession. There are needle sticks to worry about, bodily fluids to avoid and dozens of other hazards you encounter every day. These risks may seem so commonplace that you might even forget you can still receive workers' compensation benefits.
Health care -- more dangerous than construction
Construction workers spend their days working with dangerous tools and machinery, oftentimes at significant heights, and they still do not suffer more injuries than health care workers. Annually, around 654,000 health care workers are hurt on the job. This is in large part due to the nature of the job.
For example, the average nurse lifts and moves patients about once every hour. Doing so is routine and normal, so most nurses do not realize just how dangerous it can be. Even with equipment, lifting patients can cause serious back injuries.
Violence is common
Most workers do not expect to suffer an assault while at work. Health care workers, however, are not the average worker. Almost half of all incidents involving workplace violence occur in health care. Doctors, nurses, home health aides, even receptionists are at risk for injury. Although health violence often stems from patients, there is one area in which family members are more likely to be instigators -- pediatric units.
Up to 75 percent of workers in the health care industry say they have suffered either verbal or physical abuse while working. Many of these victims accept this as just another part of the job, ignoring their own well-being in the process. With an industry so narrowly focused on patient satisfaction, this is sadly understandable.
Your injuries are not a badge of honor
Constantly aching feet, a sore back, bruises from an assault -- you should not suffer these types of injuries in silence. And yet the health care industry often applauds those who bear these injuries silently, holding them up as model workers who fight through the pain.
Worker injuries are no laughing matter, and you should never try to work through them. If you received an injury on the job in Pennsylvania, you can receive workers' compensation benefits that help address your financial needs while you focus on recovery. However, do not feel discouraged if your initial application for workers' comp receives a denial, as appeals are often successful for achieving the compensation you deserve.