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Pressuring Hospitals About Injured Nurses


Thirty five thousand nurses are injured every year lifting patients, and a Democratic lawmaker wants to do something about it.

A proposal by Representative Hazel Rogers of Lauderdale Lakes would require hospitals to track injuries and form committees.

The Florida Nurses Association has no formal position on the bill. But Jeanie Demshar, a director, says FNA members are complaining about the problem.  

“You’ve got back injuries, you have shoulder injuries and I’ve heard it causing sciatica down the back and the leg. I’m sure there’s upper back injuries as well, but mostly lower back.”

But a National Public Radio investigation credited Baptist Health Systems in Florida for aggressive policies that reduced lifting injuries 80 percent. Martha DeCastro, vice president for nursing with the Florida Hospital Association, says Rogers’ bill isn’t necessary.

“There’s implications and an impact on their personal lives and those are all things that our hospitals are very focused on preventing.”

The NPR report says nurses are three times more likely to suffer lifting injuries than construction workers.

A Miami native, former WFSU reporter Jim Ash is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most of it in print. He has been a member of the Florida Capital Press Corps since 1992.