With Shortage in Nurses, Hospital Workplace Safety Is More Important Than Ever

by Alex

After more than a year of battling a once-in-a-century pandemic, many nurses are burned out. In addition to working longer hours to account for the spike in critically ill patients, the mental and emotional toll has also been difficult to bear.

While working their shifts, many nurses worried about whether or not they may get sick themselves or pass the virus to a loved one at home. Some secluded themselves into separate rooms or entirely different homes in order to protect those around them. The backdrop to all of this was constant grief and loss. Nurses stepped in to help comfort dying patients in their last moments since family members could not be there, and nurses were there to witness patients’ last moments when ICU staff could not save them. 

A year and a half later, RNs are quitting in large numbers. The country already faced a nursing shortage prior to 2020, but the pandemic has quickly turned it into a crisis. In most hospitals, the nurses who are left are attending to more patients than ever before. Not only does this put them at risk of burnout, but it also puts their physical health in danger.

An Aging U.S. Population Created a Nursing Shortage Before COVID

There are a number of reasons for the shortage of nurses. Well before the pandemic hit, experts were warning of a staffing shortage due to America’s aging population. As more and more Baby Boomers have retired over the last decade, the 65+ age group has ballooned. Between 2011 and 2019, this demographic increased by 73%

An aging population puts a greater strain on hospitals as older patients are more likely to suffer from age-related health conditions and typically require longer stays than younger patients do. In addition to an increase in older patients, Baby Boomer nurses are also retiring, creating an even larger gap between the number of RNs and the number of patients.

More Than a Year of COVID-Related Stress Leads to Unprecedented Burnout

Staffing shortages quickly became a crisis when COVID-19 emerged. Nurses have been asked to work longer hours and deal with higher-stress situations. Many moved departments to help accommodate overflowing ICU units.

In addition to the extra stress, nurses also had to risk their health and the health of their loved ones when PPE shortages required them to reuse masks or work without adequate safety protection. After more than a year of working in a pressure cooker environment, nurses reported unprecedented levels of burnout. A survey conducted in April 2021 by the American Nurses Foundation found that an astounding 92% of RNs were considering leaving the profession.

Post-COVID resignations are already being felt. States like Tennessee and Mississippi currently have fewer nurses than they had in January of 2021: In some cases, the number of RNs has dropped by thousands. New York City hospitals have reported that it takes them an average of three months or longer to hire one RN.

In early September, the American Nurses Association raised the alarm when they sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services asking that they declare the nursing shortage a national emergency.

Understaffing May Put Workers at Greater Risk for Injuries

When nurses are required to take care of too many patients, it does not just affect their mental and emotional wellbeing—it also puts their physical health at risk.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about half of nursing-related injuries are strains, sprains, and tears. Many of these are caused by overexertion.

Nurses are most likely to be injured when moving or transferring patients. Without the proper support, nurses can injure their muscles, nerves, tendons, spinal discs, and/or joints. In order to move patients safely, it is recommended that staff seek help from coworkers, use assistive devices when possible, and practice ergonomically safe lifting techniques which include bending with the knees and not the back.

However, when nurses are rushing between critically ill patients, safety best practices are often foregone in the interest of providing patients with the life-saving treatment they need. One wrong move may cause severe injuries that result in lifelong challenges for a hospital worker.

Financial Resources Available to Injured Healthcare Workers

While nurses have always made sacrifices to save patients’ lives, the events of the last year have made their selflessness more apparent than ever. That is why it is important that injured RNs have access to the resources they need to properly heal and recover if they are ever injured at work.

Injured nurses may qualify for compensation if they are ever hurt while working. In most cases, this involves filing a workers’ compensation claim.

Workers’ compensation benefits include weekly payments that compensate for the following losses:

  • Costs of medical care: May include hospital stays, surgery, medication, and physical rehabilitation
  • Diminished earnings: If an injury requires that a worker stay home or find other employment that is not as physically straining, they may be compensated for the loss in income

Injured? Contact the Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Shulman & Hill

Shulman & Hill has offices throughout New York City and the surrounding area dedicated to helping injured New Yorkers secure the compensation they need to recover from their injuries and illnesses. If you were injured in a hospital or other workplace setting, you can schedule a free legal consultation to find out what your options for compensation may be.

Our workers’ compensation lawyers have helped numerous workers file successful workers’ compensation claims and challenge denials. If you are considering filing a claim or need assistance fighting back against a denied claim, contact Shulman & Hill for help. We can help investigate the cause of your injury, gather supporting evidence that shows why you may be eligible for compensation, and negotiate with insurers to help you secure the benefits you may be entitled to.

Schedule your free, no-obligation legal consultation today to learn more.

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"The treatment received by Shulman & Hill was extremely excellent. They treated me like I was part of their family and that gave me a lot of confidence in them. I would recommend them one hundred percent because they are very trained in your area. I congratulate you and ask God to fill you with blessings. Gracias for your support."

Ramon E.

"I would like to thank The Shulman & Hill Law Firm in Brooklyn for their outstanding representation on my worker’s compensation case. The monetary reward exceeded our expectations and Alex worked closely with me to meet and exceed my goals."

John S.

"To anyone in need of a worker’s compensation lawyer, I highly recommend Alex Shulman and his team. They went above and beyond to best accommodate me during my time of injury. All my questions and concerns were answered in a timely manner and with the utmost professionalism. In addition and most importantly they fought to make sure I was correctly compensated for my injuries at time of settlement and didn’t rush to get paid. I will be recommending their firm to anyone and everyone in need of their services."

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"I am both satisfied and relieved with the results this extremely professional and reliable firm did. They lead me through the entire process, they never gave me any issues. They handled everything on their own, and always put a great deal of effort to ensure my comfort and best interest. They were always reachable and answered all my questions, and gave me information even when I didn’t know what the right question to ask was.  They turned a grave dilemma into something very manageable and repairable. They are efficient and do not linger with any paperwork, I was truly amazed at the results and the short time it took. I highly recommend them to anyone, and will seek their counsel in the future."

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Aaron R.

"Alex Shulman did a wonderful job walking me through all the process of my case…making sure I understood all the legality and severity of all my hearing. I highly recommend their firm to handle any and all worker’s compensation cases. They strive for your wellbeing health-wise as well as aiming for the financial max."

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"Schulman & Hill was my very first choice I chose for my WC case . I am very pleased with the outcome of my case. I would highly recommend them to friends. They are very professional and kept me informed during every step of this process. Should I ever need a WC attorney again, God forbid, Shulman & Hill it is, hands down . Thank you ."

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"I had a great experience with Shulman & Hill. They have a great team and were very understanding and helpful from day one. I felt like I was in good hands and the outcome on my case overreached my expectations! I highly recommend this firm. You can be rest assured that they will fight for you rights."

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"My experience with the Shulman & Hill lawyers during this process time was excellent, they are competent and very professional lawyers, they worked quickly with my case and they kept me informed of the whole process all the time. Shulman & Hill’s fans recommend them with closed eyes, thank you very much Shulman & Hill."

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"Shulman & Hill is the best firm out there. They help you understand....since walking into Shulman & Hill, they have guided me...to get a win. I am completely happy with my compensation. What brought me to Shulman & Hill was their expertise in workers compensation and personal injury cases. What I found value in was in their mission to provide compassionate service..."

Jason S.

"I went to the Internet to find a lawyer to assist me to navigate worker’s compensation process. Shulman & Hill was my first choice  and I have no regrets. I was impressed with the prompt response to my case. I must comment on the office environment and office staff being  friendly, professional and prompt. A big thanks to the lawyers that represented me at the hearings and Valeria who helped to lessen my anxiety are dealing with legal issues. I have no hesitation in recommending this law firm to anyone that requires legal services."

Ita L.

"The best law firm in NYC! They explain everything to you and they are very generous and helpful. The lawyers are excellent and very respectful as also is the receptionist. I highly recommend the Shulman & Hill law firm."

Davis C.

"Excellent lawyers. Excellent service. I will recommend them as my first choice. They helped me with my case since day one. They know exactly how to work on a case and win it. They worked fast and were always in communication with me.  I won my case with a very high amount. Thanks to all the staff, I wish them my best. They will always be in my heart."

Grace B.

"Had a very positive experience working with Shulman & Hill in the worker’s compensation case. Everyone is very professional and competent. Received the maximum possible settlement in court. I am sincerely grateful to my lawyers and personally Alex Shulman for the work done. I wish you further success and prosperity."

Dmitry M.

"I am so glad that I chose Alex Shulman to represent me in my worker’s compensation case. I have definitely recommended him to some of my coworkers and friends who needed an Attorney. I am so happy with the service I got from him and his paralegals. Thank you very much to the entire staff at Shulman & Hill for everything!"

Ilya K.

"Shulman & Hill have been tremendously helpful in resolving my case. They are extremely professional and thorough. I would recommend them to anyone working to resolve a difficult case."

James M.

"I was very pleased with the work of this firm. They made sure I understood my case and I was never left out of the loop. They were professional and very friendly. I would recommend them to anyone looking for someone who is going to fight for you to the very end."

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"Wonderful service quality by the group of professional advocates in the law firm of Shulman & Hill! I did not expect that I will find a proper solution regarding my worker’s compensation. However, it has been possible by the experts and they have made the task easier over the period. Thanks to them for their help."

Corey A.

"I would definitely like to thank Mr. Alex Shulman and his entire staff at Shulman and Hill for their exceptional work in helping me with my Worker’s Compensation case. Their entire staff was courteous and professional from start to finish and all work was done in a timely fashion. I was previously with a different law firm who were not as informative, and they made me feel like I was a mere money to them. I personally recommend the law offices of Shulman & Hill for any injury/ worker’s compensation case you may have. They strive to get you a maximum reward for your injury, while maintaining the utmost courtesy and professionalism."

Dain J.


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