- Help someone poop.
- Take urine samples.
- Carry people to different rooms.
- Rush to emergency rooms.
- Run towards coding rooms.
This list doesn’t even cover the worst parts of being a nurse. There’s just too many to mention. They don’t even get enough credit for saving people’s lives, helping surgeons in the operating room by standing for long hours handing them clamps and scalpels. Can you imagine a world without nurses? Doctors can’t do it on their own.
And yet little attention is paid to the every day back injuries they suffer from. While most other workers sit in comfortable office chairs, nurses rarely ever get a break. And, they have to work night shift sometimes just to care for their patients. If your son or daughter or friend or partner is a nurse, here’s what you can do to help.
Know the Cause of the Pain
There are multiple reasons why nurses experience back pain. This is because they have many responsibilities in their job description.
- Weightlifting – Well, not exactly lifting barbells like athletes or bricks like construction workers, but human beings are also heavy. Nurses are sometimes assigned to patients who are disabled—temporarily or permanently—so they have to assist them in most things they do, like taking a shower, peeing, and pooping. They have to help them change positions, sometimes, for medical exams. And because they do this routinely, it strains their back and causes it pain at the end of a long day.
- Sudden movements—Nurses are the first people to rush to patients who are having a cardiac or respiratory arrest especially when their doctors aren’t around. Because of this, they sometimes stretch their backs suddenly, which shocks the spine and hurts it.
- Poor posture— Bad posture among nurses are sometimes caused by the way they carry their body during idle time. But most of the time, it’s also caused by the excessive time of standing with the surgeon during operations. This is a life and death situation for the patient so they have to be extra alert and observant. Looking down on the operation table with a hunched neck for many hours isn’t exactly healthy.
Helping Our Nurses
Sometimes because nurses are so passionate about their job, they forget its limitations. Who can blame them? They get to hear interesting stories from their patients and form friendships with them. And the sheer fulfillment that comes out of helping other people—that’s one of the best feelings in the world.
That’s why you as a good parent, friend, or partner need to remind them that they are not Superman. Remind them that they have fellow nurses who can help them carry patients. They can also use wheelchairs in moving to far places, even when they probably already knew that. At home, make sure they don’t have to carry heavy things. Move the furniture for them. Maybe buy them a yoga chair as a gift just so they can do a little bit of exercise. Massage their backs in your free time.
More than that, help them form good posture habits. Remind them to sit straight and stand with their chest out and shoulders relaxed—especially when they’re far from work and you’re just hanging out. A hunched back becomes a painful back. This is hard to maintain because of the nature of their work, but you can always be a good support system to them. Chairs for posture support also exist to support them whenever you’re not around.
Nurses spend their lives taking care of other people. You can help take care of them in simple ways. It means a lot, even if it’s just helping them prevent back pain.