VA Hospital Nurses and Workers' Compensation
VA Hospital Nurses Need an Experienced Federal Workers' Compensation Attorney When They Are Hurt at Work
A hospital is one of the most dangerous places to work. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) statistics, "On average, U.S. hospitals recorded 6.8 work-related injuries and illnesses for every 100 full-time employees….That is almost twice the rate for private industry as a whole."
This is not news to the 93,000 nursing personnel in Veterans Administration hospitals across the country. But, for them, the risks are outweighed by the sense of purpose. For instance, in a publication of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) nurses list the many reasons why they enjoy working for the VHA, including:
- Our mission, to care for those "who shall have borne the battle" and their families and survivors cannot be matched.
- The VA values "I CARE"—Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect and Excellence—define our culture and strengthen our dedication to those we serve.
- There is a great feeling of professional satisfaction serving our nation's heroes.
These are all great sentiments. But, even the best of intentions cannot prevent workplace injuries. So when nurses at VA hospitals sustain an on-the-job injury, they need an experienced Federal Workers' Compensation attorney on their side to ensure they receive all the benefits to which they're entitled.
The VA is so concerned about the health and welfare of its nurses that in 2008 it began implementing a campaign to protect its nursing staff by using technology. The VA has spent more than $200 million on what it calls "the safe patient handling program," which includes integrating the following into the nursing protocol.
- Use of a ceiling lift and sling to safely lift a patient out of bed.
- Utilizing a HoverMatt, a floating mattress that aids in easily moving a patient from a bed to a gurney.
- Moving patients via a self-driving gurney that doesn't require pushing or pulling.
Federal research shows that VA hospitals nationwide have reduced nursing injuries from moving patients by about 30 to 40 percent since the program started. However, not all VA facilities are equipped with such technology, and those that are don't have it throughout the entire facility. And, for full safety effectiveness, there is a need for a "cultural change" in the minds of some nurses who are used to the traditional methods of moving patients.
In addition to the musculoskeletal injuries (involving joints, ligaments, muscles, nerves, tendons and structures that support limbs, the back and the neck) stemming from the physical nature of the nursing profession, VA nurses also suffer from the following:
- Cuts and punctures
- Toxic exposures to such things as blood borne pathogens, radioactive materials, waste and drugs
- Strains and sprains
- Workplace violence
The VHA is the nation's largest integrated healthcare system with more than 1,200 facilities serving 8.76 million enrolled veterans each year. VA nurses' dedication to those who have served is admirable. So it stands to reason that when they get hurt on the job, they deserve the best legal representation possible by an experienced Federal Workers' Compensation attorney who is as equally dedicated to their needs.