As a nurse in Somerset, Massachusetts, you run the risk every day of being injured or falling ill. There are various ways to avoid these incidents, though, and American Mobile Healthcare gives 10 tips.

Ways to prevent illness

The initial two tips concern what you do outside of work. First, there’s the need for good self-care, which means a healthy diet and daily exercise, among other things. Second, you want to obtain the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep every night. Fatigue can make one less alert, and poor physical health can compromise one’s immune system.

The number one way to prevent illness is regular hand-washing. That’s the third tip. The fourth is to be up-to-date on flu vaccinations. Influenza is easily spread through coughing and sneezing, so being immunized against it protects yourself in addition to co-workers and patients. Fifth, you’re encouraged to be immunized against other pathogens like hepatitis B, measles, mumps and rubella. Then, there is the need for personal protective equipment such as:

• Gloves
• Gowns and masks
• Eye protection

Preventing ergonomic and other injuries

Practicing good body mechanics is a must. Nurses should rotate tasks between their hands, change their position as they are sitting or standing. Ergonomic injuries are possible when lifting patients, so the eighth tip is to use lift and transfer equipment, no matter how time-consuming, when one is lifting alone. The ninth tip is to provide assistance to nurses who are lifting patients or dealing with violent patients.

Avoiding needlestick injuries

Hospital workers experience some 385,000 needlestick- and sharps-related injuries every year, so nurses must be careful in handling needles. There should be an automatic safety mechanism on needlesticks. Needles should not be recapped, and connection systems should be avoided when possible.

What you can do after being injured

Perhaps you were injured or fell ill as a result of your nursing occupation. Under workers’ compensation law, you can be eligible for benefits that cover medical expenses and lost income, among other things, but you may want a lawyer to assist with the claim.