Construction worker… miner… nurse aide? While you may not think of Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) as having a “tough” job, their day-to-day tasks can be just as dangerous as working in construction or mining. Back and shoulder strains are the most commonly reported injuries in the field, as CNAs must often lift patients and transfer them to various locations.
Despite the high-risk work environment CNAs face, the profession is growing. The U.S. Department of Labor projects employment in this field to grow significantly more rapidly through the year 2022 than the average employment growth for all occupations. Because the population of elderly in the United States is growing larger, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities will need increasing numbers of CNAs in the coming years. If you currently work as a nursing assistant or are considering a career in the field, it is important to educate yourself on ways to avoid on-the-job injury. These simple facts can help you protect yourself from harm:
Facilities that do not allow CNAs to lift patients by themselves report the lowest rates of work-related injuries. Lifting patients together with another employee greatly reduces your risk of injury.
Nursing homes and long-term care facilities that provide CNAs with proper equipment, such as lifts, as well as thorough training on how to use the equipment safely have fewer injured employees.
Back injury prevention programs have high rates of success in reducing injuries. Before choosing prospective employers, find out whether the facility offers such a program. Apply only to companies that either have a program in place or are willing to start a program. If you work for an employer that does not have an injury prevention program in place, speak to the management about creating one.
It is worth pursuing a career as a CNA both because of the field’s promising economic prospects and the rewarding nature of helping those in need. With the above information in mind, you can have a stable, fulfilling career and a pain-free work experience.