A nursing career can be both personally and professionally rewarding. You may have decided to become a nurse since you wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. It’s undeniable that nursing has its perks, but it’s also crucial to be aware of the dangers of the job.

According to labor statistics, private-sector registered nurses missed 19,790 days of work due to injury or sickness in 2016. Over and above the average rate for all jobs, there were 104.2 instances per 10,000 full-time nurses in this group.

It’s critical to be aware of potential workplace dangers, such as physical and chemical ones. The mere fact that you are aware will go a long way toward enhancing your ability to work safely.

Following are some of the common workplace hazards faced by nurses which can be minimized.

1. Ongoing Overtime

Regular overtime is one of the most dangerous problems that nurses face because of the lack of personnel in the healthcare profession. Some countries prohibit overtime duties, but nurses still work more overtime hours than most other professions, even though all countries have at minimum some limitations on required overtime.

Hospitals can’t risk leaving a floor unstaffed if a nurse cancels on short notice because of the importance of their work. Nurses are asked to work extra hours on a regular basis even though overtime isn’t required by law in most hospitals. This aspect of the profession is even worse for nurses who are pursuing higher education alongside their work. But we recommend nurses to pursue higher education through online programs to acquire the benefits of flexible timings and lack of commute time. Hence, opting for an online MSN program is the most suitable choice due to the amount of energy it takes to work a single shift as a highly experienced, hands-on nurse is considerable. Nurses must be allowed to take breaks and recharge their batteries between shifts, and nurses should avoid chronic extra hours. 

2. Physical Strain

Physical strain is a major concern for nurses because they are on their feet for extended periods of time. This can cause physical strain on the body, and as a result, health care professionals suffer the most back injuries when lifting or transferring patients.

Nurses suffer work-related musculoskeletal injuries at nearly seven times the national average. More than 35,000 nursing employees suffer back as well as other musculoskeletal ailments each year; many of them are severe enough to necessitate time off from work. To avoid workplace-related hazards, one can consider taking workshops related to the issue, as it can help you learn how to prevent workplace hazards and many other nursing management and medical practices.

3. Night Shift Hazards

When most people are just getting ready for work in the morning, many nurses are on their way back home from late shifts. Driving at night, when vision is at its lowest, can lead to car accidents because of fatigue.

Working all night increases the levels of stress. Physical symptoms such as headaches, weariness, melancholy, gastrointestinal trouble, and back/neck pain are common when mental and emotional stress levels rise. Minimal nurse-to-patient proportions or mandatory overtime throughout periods of short-staffing can lead to overwork and burnout in the workplace.

4. Being a Victim of Violence at Work

According to a survey conducted in 2014, 3 out of 4 nurses had experienced some form of workplace violence in the previous year, whether it was verbal or physical. Employees subjected to physical or verbal abuse at the workplace can suffer long-term consequences. Nurses are especially concerned about violence when working in an emergency room or a mental health department. When it comes to working in mental health facilities, oftentimes, they have to deal with patients with violent tendencies. This aspect of their job puts their safety at risk. 

5. Hazardous Chemicals in the Workplace 

Toxic chemicals that are linked to a wide range of chronic and acute health concerns are frequently present in medical institutions around the country. These chemicals can be found in various forms, from cleaning goods and disinfectants to sterilants and formaldehyde.

A nurse is exposed to harmful substances on a daily basis, including radioactive apparatus (x-ray machines, radiation chemical tracers), drugs, cleaners, and more. Due to these reasons, nurses require extensive radiation safety measures

An asthma attack or other adverse effects could occur if nurses are exposed. If they are pregnant, exposure to these substances can pose an additional danger to their unborn children. Removing all harmful substances from healthcare facilities is unlikely, but safer alternatives should be used whenever possible.


The role of the registered nurses (RNs) in healthcare cannot be overstated. However, when going about their daily business, many of them run across workplace risks. Nurses are required to put their own lives in danger on a regular basis to provide their patients with medical attention. Their daily lives can include a variety of potentially damaging or hazardous situations, such as unintentional needle sticks or exposure to a variety of dangerous medicines and toxins. Many of these hazards may be avoided through training, but accidents do occur. However, even though the nursing staff has highly trained professionals who appreciate the necessity of workplace health and safety, the constant monitoring required can be extremely demanding on anyone who bears this load.