Fight Back Friday: You want safety in health care, don’t you?

I am hopeful you’ve been lucky enough to avoid a trip to an acute care facility or a nursing home recently. Or maybe, like me, you’ve gone to visit someone who is on the mend. I have seen wonderful nurses stretched to the limit.

Public health is so important and it’s clear legislation is needed in our state to protect patient safety.  Staffing in many of our hospitals and health facilities has been cut to dangerously low levels and there is currently no recognized standard for appropriate staffing levels in health care facilities.

There is legislation pending in our state that could help. Click here to support a bill to support safe staffing ratios.

One issue that health care workers often face, and can sometimes be the reason why there aren’t enough on the job, is a high incidence of back, knee, shoulder and other joint pain. Based on workers’ compensation claims for back injuries, nursing aides and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) ranked fifth and ninth, respectively, among all occupations. In fact, nursing aides are at a higher risk for back injuries than construction laborers, lumbermen, material handlers and laborers.

Why? Numerous studies have shown health care workers don’t have the support they need lifting patients. If “no-lift” or “zero-lift” safe handling policies are implemented in health care facilities, it will also result in long-term savings in workers’ compensation costs and reduced leave time due to injuries. Facilities across the nation, including New York, that have piloted these policies have witnessed significant reductions in injury-related costs and increased health care.

There’s a safe patient handling bill before state lawmakers right now. Click here for the link to urge your lawmaker’s support.

Above are just two of the issues health care workers will discuss at a professional issues forum NYSUT sponsors tomorrow. Here’s a link to the program. You can support your brothers and sisters in the health care fields by going to NYSUT’s Member Action Center to contact lawmakers on their issues. In addition to safe staffing and safe handling, did you know that not every school building in New York has a school nurse? Click here for the link to support having a school nurse in every school building.

Did you know that home health care workers can be forced to work mandatory overtime. Click here for the link to support limits to the number of consecutive hours a home care nurse is required to work.

It’s a stressful time of year for all workers. Every day, teachers contact me with yet another problem with state tests. Health care workers tell us stress is a killer. Advice on stress often includes management techniques and here’s a link to extremely good advice.

I know I release stress when I do something. After this week, going to the MAC to exercise my rights to contact lawmakers, helps me. Try it. It just might work for you too.

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