Nurses are often exposed to a number of potential environmental hazards when performing their jobs. On a daily basis, we encounter patients who need our assistance to keep from falling while ambulating, require a helping hand with toileting needs, need an intramuscular injection, or have a dressing that needs changing. All of these tasks, which nurses around the world might perform multiple times during a typical shift, carry an inherit risk that could expose the nurse to injury or infection. Although the majority of us are able to perform these routine nursing duties without a second thought, it only takes one misstep or unusual circumstance to cause harm to the nurse. Unfortunately, when exposures, patient falls, or other incidents occur, they can have long-term physical effects on the nurse/technician.
If you experience frequent pain as a result of performing a specific task, would you keep doing it? Maybe a professional athlete in the last mile of a marathon would—but what about healthcare workers for whom the race is far from over over? Injured runners, even amateurs, are advised to stop running and seek professional help to diagnose and address the pain, determine the cause, and fix the problem.
An article in the latest issue of The International Journal of SPHM (Safe Patient Handling and Mobility) investigates a significant but rarely publicized problem—musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) among endoscopy nurses and technicians. “Endoscopy Staff Injury: A Serious Problem Hiding in Plain Sight” provides specifics on the extent, nature, and root causes of endoscopy staff MSDs and includes data compiled from various studies.
Looping occurs in 90% of all colonoscopies. It is the main cause of patient pain and failed and prolonged procedures. Yet the concept of looping can be hard to grasp and even harder to visualize.
This short video illustrates WHAT looping looks like and WHY it happens.
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.
In terms of quality, safety, and patient satisfaction, screening colonoscopies performed by nurse practitioners (NPs) are equivalent to those of physicians, according to the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Given proper training, NPs could improve the sub-par colorectal cancer screening compliance rates in the United States with procedures that cost less and are equally safe and effective.
There’s a saying about nurses: Save one life, you’re a hero. Save 100, and you’re a nurse. Nurses are a dedicated bunch, routinely sacrificing their safety for that of their patients. Most have impacted thousands of lives.
Have you heard? The American Cancer Society’s new screening guidelines for colorectal cancer recommend starting screening at age 45 instead of 50. That’s great news for Americans worried about the increased risk of colorectal cancer in young adults. But maybe not for endoscopy nurses, who are already in short supply.