Clinicians And Nurses Are Susceptible To Work Injuries, Yet Risk Of Patient Injury Is A Greater Fear Finds New Survey From Steelcase Health

Nearly half of the clinicians surveyed cite at least one injury and/or one patient injury while on-the-job

Grand Rapids, MI – (November 18, 2013) – As the healthcare system increasingly shifts from diagnosis and treatment to prevention and wellness, clinicians and nurses are front and center to play a key role in shaping the healthcare environment and the patient experience. A new survey released today from Steelcase Health, a  Steelcase brand, found that clinicians and nurses are highly vulnerable to work injuries, causing them to miss shifts or alter their activities while on the job.

The bulk of injuries are due to patient transfers, where one in three clinicians and nurses have experienced an injury in moving patients from bed to chair. Nearly half (47%) of those surveyed perform patient transfers more than once a week. While a vast majority reports a low to moderate level of fear/concern around their jobs, risk of patient injury (31%) is a greater concern amongst surveyed clinicians and nurses than risk of personal injury (20%).

According to the 2013 Steelcase Health’s State of Clinicians & Nurses Report, 35% of clinicians and nurses report being injured at least once on the job while 24% had to modify activity or movement during at least one shift. Though less often, patient injuries also occur – 10% say at least one of their patients has been injured while on the job. To maintain their health and safety on the job, most clinicians and nurses rely on help from colleagues (74%) or choose to stay fit (65%).  While half feel their work environment is supportive in preventing discomfort, injury or pain, the most desired change clinicians and nurses want out of their work environment centers around updating equipment and furniture (25%) followed by rearranging the physical space to be better aligned with patient needs (23%).

“Given clinicians and nurses have so much direct contact with patients, their roles are becoming ever more important to the healthcare environment and patient satisfaction,” said Alan Rheault, Director, Industrial Design, Steelcase Health. “Yet we find that clinicians and nurses still experience a high rate of injuries on the job despite working in supportive environments – which then begs the question: What does the healthcare industry need to do to ensure caregivers’ work environments pose lower risk and encourage greater well-being for everyone?

Rosalyn Cama, Chair of the Board of Directors for The Center of Health Design and President and Principal Interior Designer of CAMA, Inc put forward one solution, “Workplace health and safety risks are present in all business sectors, in healthcare however, patient handling rises to the top of the list.  Observing why and where these unsafe behaviors occur, identifying and researching the potential risks associated with these behaviors, imagining solutions that modify risky behavior and designing better tools to aid in their proper execution is what we, the evidence-based healthcare design community, expect from our industry partners.  The resources in our kit-of-parts have to keep pace with our rapidly growing need to design safer environments in which to deliver care.”

Steelcase Health commissioned this research to better understand the key challenges clinicians and nurses face while at work and to quantify and evaluate their perceptions regarding potential risks to their well-being and their patients’ well-being.  The research also identifies the measures clinicians and nurses take to maintain their health and safety while they are caring for patients.

Additional survey findings include:

  • Back injury is the greatest perceived risk for patient caregivers followed by neck injury.
  • Regardless of work injuries, vast majority (85%) say interacting with patients and helping them get better are the most enjoyable aspects of their job.

To learn more about the survey and ways to solve for these issues, please visit Empath.

Survey Methodology

A total of 303 online surveys were conducted between July 31 and August 30, 2013 by a national research firm, Business Research Group (BRG). Respondents have at least one year experience with patient care and include RNs, LPNs, nursing managers, physical therapists, occupation therapists, etc., with equal representation of the four US regions (Northeast, Midwest, South and West) and Canada.  The margin of error for the total sample is +/- 5.6% at the 95% confidence level.

About Steelcase Health

Steelcase Health is a brand dedicated to providing user-centered solutions in healthcare. Steelcase Health views the healthcare environment as an integral part of the healing process and provides holistic solutions that focus not only on product, but space as a whole, delivering research-driven, evidence-based solutions to complex problems in healthcare environments. For more information on Steelcase Health please visit here.

Media Contacts

Aideen Doherty, Brand Communications, Steelcase Health,

Lauren Arthur, PR Leader, M Booth, (+1 212-539-3282)