Newly licensed nurses in South Carolina and across the nation may be at a higher risk of being injured on the job than veteran nurses, according to a new study by the RN Work Project. The study, which was published by the International Journal of Nursing Studies, found that new nurses are injured more frequently due to longer working hours and heavier workloads.

One of the findings in the study was that nurses who work the night shift and over eight hours of overtime each week suffer from more needle-stick injuries and strains. The study also found that nurses who are in poor health, work the night shift and take on a heavy workload experience more sprains and pains on the job. Nurses under the age of 30 with less experience working independently sustain more needle-stick injuries when they take on a heavy workload.

Researchers say that working 12-hour shifts and weekend overtime hours is a common practice for most newly licensed nurses. They claim that more research should be done to determine how to reduce nursing injury rates. Other studies have shown that the risk of being injured on the job is higher for nurses than it is for construction workers, correctional officers and police officers. In response to the studies, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration has announced plans to monitor hospitals more closely.

When a nurse is injured on the job, one of the consequences could be a significant loss of income due to missing work. A serious spinal injury could even cause a nurse to become permanently disabled. A lawyer might be able to help a nurse to pursue financial compensation for serious workplace injuries.