For nurses in Pennsylvania and across the country, a fairer, more supportive working environment can also help to reduce workplace injuries. This was the finding of a study completed by researchers at Michigan State University and Portland State University, who noted that when nurses perceive that they receive less support than they give, they are also more likely to suffer workplace injuries. The types of support measured by the study varied greatly and included access to guidance and advice, help with their workload or simple expressions of care or empathy.

The physical demands of nursing already put many nurses at risk for physical injuries or accidents on the job. Nurses may have to move heavy patients or equipment from beds to wheelchairs or from one place to another. In addition, they often work long, 12-hour shifts that are particularly demanding. Therefore, they are already in danger of workplace injuries related to muscle or joint pains and strains in the shoulders, arms, hands and lower back. According to researchers, muscular and skeletal injuries can be exacerbated by angry feelings, such as those people experience when they perceive that they are being treated unfairly at work.

According to the study, when nurses feel they give more support to their co-workers than they receive in return, they are also more likely to suffer from workplace injuries. Researchers said that hospitals often look to technological solutions to reduce injuries, such as installing mechanical lifts for patients. They noted that fostering a supportive workplace client may be just as important to improving workplace safety.

Nurses who are hurt on the job may face rising medical bills or be unable to return to work as a result of their injuries. A workers’ compensation lawyer might be able to help injured nurses and other employees to pursue compensation for their losses.