NPR Series on Nurse Injuries

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NPR's Daniel Zwerdling investigates one of the most dangerous jobs in America. These workers get disabled by back and other injuries more than construction workers, firefighters and police. In fact, their injuries are sometimes so serious that they have to leave their jobs -- and their lives turn upside down.  Zwerdling shows a troubling side of health care in the four-part series Injured Nurses, airing Wednesdays on All Things Considered starting February 4.  

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Stories in the series -

A Dangerous Job  - Wednesday, February 4 
Nursing is one of the most dangerous jobs in America. With more than 35,000 back and other body injuries each year from lifting and moving patients, nursing assistants and orderlies have higher rates of back injury than construction workers. An NPR investigation from Daniel Zwerdling has found that hospital officials have known how to reduce the often debilitating injuries for years, but have done little to prevent them.

The Science - Wednesday, February 11 
Nursing employees in hospitals across the country are getting disabling injuries. They injure their backs and arms more than construction workers do. An NPR investigation has found it's partly because nursing schools and hospitals have traditionally taught employees the wrong information about how to move and lift their patients. In part two of the series Injured Nurses, NPR's Daniel Zwerdling takes us to a laboratory where researchers use HIM as a test subject, complete with a high-tech artificial spine, to show why so many nurses are getting hurt.

Mission Hospital - Wednesday, February 18 
As NPR has been reporting in its investigation, tens of thousands of nurses and nursing assistants get disabling injuries every year from lifting and moving patients. Some hospitals have showed they can reduce the rate of those injuries dramatically by using machines that hoist patients. In part three of the Injured Nurses series, NPR's Daniel Zwerdling examines why most hospitals aren't taking aggressive steps to protect their nursing staff. In fact, he reveals how a major hospital in North Carolina has been unfairly denying injury claims.

The VA -- Wednesday, February 25 
The Veterans Administration was mired in scandal last year over accusations that veterans were waiting months for treatment. But the VA has also pulled off something remarkable: it's doing more than other hospital chains in America to prevent nurses and other staff from getting injured when they move and lift patients. As an NPR investigation reported, nursing employees in America suffer one of the highest rates of back and other injuries of any occupation. In part four of the Injured Nurses series, NPR's Daniel Zwerdling shows how the VA is preventing many of those injuries.