When asked to identify dangerous occupations, most people would not rank healthcare workers high on their lists. Yet the healthcare industry records 6.4 injuries per 100 workers compared with 3.3 per 100 workers for all other industries combined, including professions like firefighters and construction workers. In addition, as many as 50% of injuries may go unreported by healthcare workers.
What Is Endoscopy?
For those not immersed in the world of gastroenterology (GI), endoscopy refers to nonsurgical procedures that allow a physician to examine the digestive tract. In these procedures, a flexible tube with a small light and camera attached (an endoscope) is inserted into the mouth or the rectum. Physicians can then inspect, take pictures, and perform therapies like removing polyps and taking biopsies. The two most common endoscopic procedures are 1) upper endoscopy, which looks at the first part of the small intestine and 2) colonoscopy, which examines the lower intestine (colon).
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.
Nurses who handle patients on a regular basis are likely to get injured, sooner or later. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing has the highest rate of nonfatal occupational injuries of any profession, (yes, even higher than construction workers or factory employees), and an American Nursing Association survey revealed that 62 percent of nurses indicated that the risk of developing a disabling musculoskeletal disorder was a top health and safety concern.
The Definition of “Difficult”
A difficult colonoscopy is one “in which the endoscopist has trouble getting through the entire colon or fails to do so,” said Dr. Jerome Waye, in an interview with the journal Gastroenterology & Hepatology. Difficult colonoscopies are problematic because they can result in longer-than-expected procedure times, incomplete procedures, and higher risks.
Part of what makes colonoscopy the gold standard for colon cancer screening is its safety profile. The risk of serious complications is low (perforations and post-procedure bleeding occur in only 0.05% and 0.3% of colonoscopies, respectively). Yet according to a study out of Yale, a far larger percentage of patients return to the emergency room (ER) within seven days of colonoscopy, with far-reaching impacts on cost and patient outcomes.
Preventing staff injury and ensuring patient safety are paramount to healthcare system success and positive patient outcomes. But in the moment (i.e., when face-to-face with a patient who needs assistance) determining if and how to handle a patient can be challenging.