Congressional bill could reduce hospital injuries and extend nursing careers: 6 things to know

A bill proposed in the U.S. Congress Dec. 16 could prolong the careers of registered nurses by preventing injuries sustained from manually lifting and moving patients.

Here are six things to know about the proposed bill.

1. The bill is called the Nurse and Health Care Worker Protection Act (HR 4266).

2. It was recently introduced by U.S. Representative John Conyers (D-Mich.) and U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.).

3. The bill, if approved, would establish a national occupational safety standard that would use modern technology and safety controls, thus eliminating the manual lifting of patients by registered nurses and healthcare workers, according to a news release from the American Nurses Association.

4. Additionally, the bill would require healthcare employers to implement a comprehensive safe patient handling and mobility program and educate and train their workers in proper use and practices.

5. The bill incorporates principles from "Safe Patient Handling and Mobility: Interprofessional National Standards," a framework developed by an expert American Nurses Association panel "to establish a comprehensive program for creating a culture of safety in healthcare settings and professions and eliminating the manual handling of patients," ANA representatives said.

6. The ANA applauded the bill in a news release. "Every day, nurses and other healthcare workers suffer debilitating and often career-ending musculoskeletal disorders when they manually lift or move patients, and work in pain. Manual lifting is an unacceptable risk and practice when we have the technology and knowledge to significantly reduce injuries," said ANA President Pamela Cipriano, PhD, RN. "This bill signals that workers are not expendable and injuries are not tolerable as just 'part of the job.' It is a much needed step in the right direction to implementing safer programs that will help to save and extend the careers of thousands of registered nurses."


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