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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017 May 19;14(5). pii: E544. doi: 10.3390/ijerph14050544.

Workplace Hazards Faced by Nursing Assistants in the United States: A Focused Literature Review.

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The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing, 4008 Carrington Hall, CB# 7460, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.
North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Education and Research Center, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health, 1700 Airport Road Rm 343, CB# 7502, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.


Nursing assistants (NAs) make up a large share of the healthcare provider workforce and their numbers are expected to grow. NAs are predominantly women who earn a low wage and report financial, work, and family demands. Working as a NA is hazardous; this manuscript specifically examines the biological/infectious, chemical, enviromechanical, physical and psychosocial hazards that appear in the literature to date. A focused search strategy was used to review literature about hazards that fell into each of the five aforementioned domains. While some hazards that were documented were clear, such as exposure to influenza because of close contact with patients (biological/infectious), or exposure to hazardous drugs (chemical), literature was limited. The majority of the literature we reviewed fell into the domain of psychosocial hazards and centered on stress from workplace organization issues (such as mandatory overtime, lack of managerial support, and feeling rushed). More research is needed to understand which hazards NAs identify as most concerning and tailored interventions are needed for risk mitigation.


nursing assistants; occupational health; workplace hazards

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