The physical demands of being a nurse can be overwhelming, especially when you’re in a facility that’s crowded with patients. Lifting patients, wheeling around beds and other nursing-related tasks can literally be back-breaking work that can end your career.

Nurses are even more likely than construction workers to suffer on-the-job injuries, so it’s smart to understand how to minimize your risks. Here are some tips:

  1. Have an exercise routine: You may feel like you get plenty of exercise at work, but you may not be maintaining the right muscle strength and flexibility needed to safely do your job. Consulting with a physical therapist or physical trainer can help.
  2. Use the right footwear: It’s far easier to experience a slip-and-fall accident when you’re handling a patient if you don’t have shoes with a good, nonslip tread on them.
  3. Use the right body mechanics when lifting: Learning to lift with your legs (not your back) and use your center of gravity better can help you avoid serious strains. Make sure that you lift with your feet planted far enough apart to give you some stability and ask for help from a cohort when you need it.
  4. Ask your employer for assistance: Motorized overhead lifts, portable lifts, transfer swings and more can take much of the load off your back. They’re also safer for patients. Put some pressure on your employer to step up and provide what you need to do your job right.
  5. Take breaks when you need them: If you’re already in pain, pushing yourself any further will only make the condition worse.

If you do suffer a serious on-the-job back injury or are injured in a slip and fall while transferring a patient, you have a right to compensation and benefits. An experienced attorney can help you pursue your claim.