If you are working in the healthcare field, or in any field that involves sitting at your desk all day, or moving around the work site all day long, understanding the role of ergonomics is crucial to maintaining your physical health at work. Ergonomics is the study of how people work in different environments, and safely coordinating the work that needs to be done among different individuals in different work environments, so that the work matches the worker, and the task matches each worker’s physical capability. Ergonomics in healthcare involves creating a healthy and efficient workplace to benefit healthcare professionals, patients, and other employees who work in clinics, doctor’s offices, hospitals, and other medical settings.
Ergonomics is important for nurses, for example, because nurses must safely lift patients from hospital beds without injurying themselves or the patients when they are lifted from their hospital bed. For patients who have been bedridden for a long period of time, nurses must carefully and safely turn them over to prevent them from getting bed sores, and avoid injurying the muscles in their back, arms or legs, as well as avoiding injury to the bedridden patient. Ergonomics also focuses on healthcare workers who spend the bulk of their days working at a desk. In today’s medical world, this includes almost everyone.
If you work at your desk all day, ergonomic strategies help reduce back aches and pains caused by sitting for prolonged periods of time. This also improves productivity and patient outcomes in the healthcare setting. Advancements in ergonomic science strengthen the quality of healthcare work environments and the entire healthcare system.
Advancements in Ergonomics in Healthcare
As ergonomics is a science, it is constantly changing in an effort to improve the healthcare work environment. Current advancements include workplace design, such as designing nursing stations to maximize performance by minimizing ergonomic limitations (bending, reaching, lifting outside the body’s capacity for safety).
Ergonomics involve constantly researching different workplace environments. Advancements in healthcare ergonomics include a focus on the physical, cognitive, and organizational requirements of healthcare professionals, as well as work responsibilities in the healthcare environment. Healthcare decisionmakers, as well as other decisionmakers outside of the healthcare arena, are more willing to invest in different areas of healthcare when they see the work efficiency and work productivity resulting from employees working safely.
The Effects of Ergonomics in Healthcare
Ergonomics means improving your ability to work and easing the physical strain on your body, especially when you work at your desk all day. Reduced physical strain means fewer injuries in the workplace. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupational injuries may include pinched nerves, carpal tunnel syndrome, and activities that may cause you to overexert your muscles. Ergonomics teach employees about proper posture to avoid or lessen repetitive motion injuries caused by repetitive movements such as typing all day. Injuries can also be reduced by proper seat and desk positioning to avoid stress on the neck and back.
Working ergonomically means you miss fewer days from work due to physical injuries on the job, fewer errors, less stress, increased work satisfaction, increased work productivity, and better patient outcomes in the healthcare setting.
What Ergonomics in Healthcare Means to You
Ergonomics benefits everyone, both healthcare and non-healthcare professionals alike, and regardless of environment. Whether you are an office worker, a healthcare professional, a student, or a patient resting comfortably in a hospital bed, or sitting in a chair in the reception area waiting to see your doctor, understanding the importance of ergonomics can help you prevent short-term and long-term health problems. It is important to remember that ergonomics is not only confined to maintaining good physical health in the workplace. Ergonomics are used to measure workplace objectives, employee productivity, possible health risks, missed days from work due to musculoskeletal injuries, and environmental safety.
For more in-depth insights into the healthcare industry, follow the Avidity Medical Design Blog. Enroll in a healthcare course offered through Avidity Medical Design Academy. Purchase healthy candles and soaps with inspirational messages to remind you to stay healthy. Visit Avidity Medical Scentations and sign up to receive notifications on product availability.