Endoscopy Staff Injury: A Personal Story

Posted by Larissa Biggers on December 14, 2018
Larissa Biggers

Meet Cathy

She’s an endoscopy technician with over 30 years of experience. She loves her job, but not the pain and injuries that come along with it.



ColoWrap: Can you describe some common patient handling duties related to assisting with colonoscopy?

Cathy: Many physicians require the use of abdominal pressure as splinting frequently at the very beginning of the procedure, and sometimes that can leave me [applying pressure] for 10 to 12 minutes at a time.

ColoWrap: What are some of your biggest challenges in your work as an endoscopy tech?

Cathy: Trying to maintain a healthy position while holding abdominal pressure. Lifting someone’s abdomen and pushing on it, lifting it up like that for extended times causes me to have a great deal of pain.

ColoWrap: Practically, what does that mean for you?

Cathy: Reaching over the patient and lifting their abdomen, that hurts my shoulders and my back, and I have had a lot of problems [related to that] over the years. Also, from the front of the patient using the palm of my hand to push on the left lower quadrant, that has caused more problems than anything else—numbness in my wrist, and I’m starting to have arthritis in the thumb on my dominant hand.

ColoWrap: What effects has this had on you?

Cathy: I have lost quite a bit of work in the past, taken time off to be on disability leave for back injuries. Also just going home in pain and finding it difficult to do things around my home….it really does cut into my personal life.

ColoWrap: How would your job be different if you did not have to apply manual pressure or reposition patients?

Cathy: If I did not have do abdominal pressure and reposition the patient, sometimes multiple times during a procedure, I could focus more on assisting the physician with the procedures, taking biopsies…sometimes it’s very positional and we only have a few moments in the area we are trying to look at or get biopsies of, and if I have to hold onto the patient’s abdomen to get there and then run around the patient and then get an instrument to take a biopsy, we could lose the position. And then I have to go back around and provide pressure so that we can get back to that place again. It would make for a smoother procedure and also less delays for the patient, of course.

Thank you for letting me speak about something that I actually feel is very important and allowing me to talk about my experiences. I hope this helps.   

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Topics: colonoscopy, nurse, endoscopy, nursing, patient, safe patient handling, endoscopy nursing, abdominal pressure colonoscopy, difficult colonoscopy, nurse injury

This blog is designed to discuss key topics in colonoscopy. 

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