6 Ways Healthcare Professionals Can Prevent Occupational Hazards!

Healthcare Professionals

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Today, the world is evolving rapidly, and so is the healthcare system. Previously, physicians and other healthcare professionals faced difficulty carrying out routine work given a lack of resources and tools.

However, now we’re witnessing significant advancements in the healthcare field. Healthcare workers are reaping benefits from technologies like Telehealth, AR/VR, sensors and wearables, and what not.

Likewise, technological solutions like electronic health records (EHR), remote monitoring tools, and portal technology are available for administrative work. Such advancements assist healthcare professionals in boosting work productivity while ensuring seamless workflow and quality patient outcomes.

Similarly, patients can also make the most of healthcare technologies. Telehealth allows them to contact doctors and nurses at any given time from any region. 

While all of the advancements and developments in healthcare seem promising, many variables still possess various challenges for this sector. Despite the groundbreaking innovations and developments, occupational hazards in the healthcare workplace are at an all-time high. Many healthcare workers fall victim to occupational hazards regardless of their work nature.

These include but aren’t limited to contracting viruses, getting injured, exposure to harmful chemicals and drugs, etc. Fortunately, as a healthcare worker, you can take various preventive measures to limit the chances of such instances from occurring. While your organization should also improve its occupational safety standards, you must be vigilant about them.

Let’s discuss some helpful ways to prevent occupational hazards in healthcare settings.

1. Utilize protective gear

Amid the global pandemic of 2020, the United Nations urged healthcare organizations worldwide to utilize protective gear appropriately. But why was it compulsory to give out this guidance for healthcare institutions? Were they not using such protective measures even before the pandemic emerged?

Despite common belief, many healthcare workers at times become reluctant to utilize protective gear in specific scenarios. According to a report by International Safety Center, many healthcare workers avoid wearing PPE in less critical situations given the discomfort it causes.

Therefore, it is the responsibility of healthcare institutes to make it mandatory for their workers to utilize protective gear and equipment. For this purpose, they can also hire healthcare administrators to ensure that everyone follows workplace guidelines.

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Nowadays, healthcare workers pursuing master in health administration programs learn how to devise and implement workplace policies to ensure healthcare quality. Hence, getting them on board will help streamline the whole procedure. 

2. Protection from radiation

Doctors have been using radiation for over a century. X-rays and radiation technologies help doctors diagnose and treat complex diseases. Despite the benefits, long-term radiation exposure is harmful to the body. The patient’s exposure to radiation is comparatively limited and short-lived. However, a healthcare professional has to deal with radiation daily.

Hence, healthcare professionals should follow the ALARA rule, which means as low as reasonably achievable. The operator should have the expertise to handle the instrument to avoid unnecessary repetitions. They should also lower the dose of radiation for minimal exposure.

Similarly, the use of lead barriers in the operating room is also advisable. You can also wear protective eye wears, gloves, and lead aprons to block or minimize the penetration of radiations in the body.

3. Protect yourself from accidental exposure to infections

Healthcare professionals work in close physical contact with their patients, especially nurses. Therefore, they are at the highest risk of contracting infectious diseases. They contract some infections through the respiratory tract, while some contract through needle stick injuries.

However, if a person’s immunity is strong, they can fight vigorously against infectious organisms. Nonetheless, they can act as carriers and transmit it to their family members. Hence, protection is necessary at all costs.

There are several ways one can protect themselves. Firstly they should be aware of different types of infections and their mode of transmission. Secondly, wearing personal protective equipment helps immensely. Finally, washing hands frequently plays a significant role in protection against cross infections.

4. Get professional training

As discussed before, healthcare professionals can transmit infections via direct contact, needle stick injuries, etc. Hence, specialized training in managing sharp objects and their disposal may help reduce the risk of contracting illnesses and needle-stick injuries.

According to research, most diseases are acquired through needle-stick injuries. Therefore, you can prevent them by using the single-handed scoop technique to put the cap back after usage. In addition to that, the use of auto-disable syringes can also prevent re-use. Similarly, proper disposal is also crucial.

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It is advisable to incinerate such material that poses a risk to healthcare professionals and patients.

5. Get vaccinated

The most viable way to prevent infectious diseases is to get a dose of specific vaccinations. Vaccines for various diseases having high mortality rates are available these days. These diseases include hepatitis B, coronavirus, influenza, etc. Hence, every healthcare professional should ensure to get the vaccine dosage to achieve the highest possible protection.

However, few infections tend to resurge, but the intensity of the disease reduces significantly due to the development of antibodies. Similarly, suppose there is an outbreak of any particular infection, such as measles, influenza, etc. In that case, it is advisable to get a booster dose to minimize the risk as much as possible. 

6. Mental health maintenance

The most significant occupational health hazard that healthcare professionals have to deal with is deteriorating mental health. For instance, a rising number of nurses are victims of burnout. Watching their patients suffer along with added responsibilities takes an emotional toll. Similarly, working long shifts also puts a strain on their mental well-being.

As a result, they quickly develop burnout and compassion fatigue. Therefore, healthcare professionals should consider their mental health before it’s too late. They should seek help from experts and relieve their stress. Likewise, they should limit the work burden and set aside time for personal life. 

Conclusion

Occupational hazards are prevalent in every sector and field out there. However, in the healthcare sector, they are present at every level and occupation. Whether you’re a nurse or a senior healthcare administrator, you will be exposed to various occupational issues.

Therefore, it is imperative to follow all the preventive measures to ensure your and your patient’s safety. Only then can you achieve satisfactory and quality patient outcomes. 

Healthcare professionals article and permission to publish here provided by Mikejohn Arizon. Originally written for Supply Chain Game Changer and published on December 19, 2021. 
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