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Frequent Bending-An Underestimated Burden in Nursing Professions
Institution for Statutory Accident Insurance and Prevention in Health, Welfare Services.
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2012 (English)In: Annals of Occupational Hygiene, ISSN 0003-4878, E-ISSN 1475-3162, Vol. 56, no 6, 697-707 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of the present study was to quantify the total duration per shift in which nurses work in a forward bending position over 20 degrees. Furthermore, the influence of several factors on the occurrence of sagittal trunk inclinations in nurses was investigated. Trunk postures were recorded for nine nursing home nurses from four German nursing homes and 18 hospital nurses from seven hospitals using the CUELA measurement system. A total of 79 shifts, 27 in nursing homes and 52 in hospitals, were analysed. All measurements were supported by video recordings. Specially developed software (WIDAAN 2.75) was used to synchronize the measurement data and video footage. The total duration of inclinations per shift was significantly affected by the working area (nursing home or hospital) with an increase of 25.3 min in nursing homes (95% confidence interval 2.4-48.2; P = 0.032). Another factor was the extent of personal basic care tasks performed by the nurses (P < 0.001). Nursing home nurses worked about twice as long per shift in a forward bending position compared with hospital nurses (112 versus 63 min; P < 0.001) and they assumed almost one-third more inclinations per shift (1541 versus 1170; P = 0.005). Nursing staff perform a large number of inclinations. The amount of time spent by nurses working in a forward bending position was highly dependent on the working area and the extent to which patients were in need of help. It is very likely that future preventive measures, focussing on reducing the huge amount of inclination, would reduce the physical stress in everyday nursing work substantially.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 56, no 6, 697-707 p.
Keyword [en]
bending, musculoskeletal disorders, nurses, trunk posture
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-100611DOI: 10.1093/annhyg/mes002ISI: 000306408800005PubMedID: 22356807ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84866662699OAI: diva2:543984

QC 20120813

Available from: 2012-08-13 Created: 2012-08-13 Last updated: 2014-03-25Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The Impact of Stressful Postures on the Physical Workload in Nursing
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Impact of Stressful Postures on the Physical Workload in Nursing
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Nursing staff have an elevated risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders, in particular in the lower back area. Statistics produced by leading industrial nations show that back problems are the world’s number one work-related health problem, and that healthcare workers suffer from a greater occurrence of such problems than workers in other professions. In this context, many studies have examined manual patient handling activities, which was thought to be the main cause of musculoskeletal disorders of the lower back. But nurses have many other types of work to perform and several reviews have concluded that approaches which only focus on manual patient handling activities do not sufficiently reduce back problems in nursing professions.

Other risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders of the lower back discussed in the literature included repeated bending and the high proportion of static trunk postures. The main aim of this doctoral thesis was therefore to examine the influence of stressful trunk postures on the physical workload of nursing staff in hospitals and nursing homes. It focuses on the type, number and extent of stressful postures and on identifying activities that encourage their occurrence. We used our findings to derive strategies for reducing stressful postures in nursing, and examined whether nursing staff regard such a reduction as actually relieving their physical workload.

A secondary aim was to consider the older people potentially in need of care. The background to this is that, due to steadily rising costs, many older people are unable to afford care in a nursing home, and additionally that the forecast severe shortage of nursing staff in future gives reason to look for solutions that can reduce the demand for nursing staff. Among older people who still look after themselves, we therefore examined which stressful postures they adopt when carrying out domestic tasks such as cooking and washing laundry. From the results, we provided some examples of a better design of the domestic environment, which reduces stressful postures, when performing these tasks and helps older people to be able to look after themselves in their own homes for longer.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2014. 49 p.
TRITA-STH : report, ISSN 1653-3836 ; 2014.3
nurses, musculoskeletal disorders, trunk posture, perceived exertion, ergonomics
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-143534 (URN)978-91-7595-049-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-04-11, 3072, Marinens väg 30, Haninge, 13:00 (English)

QC 20140324

Available from: 2014-03-24 Created: 2014-03-24 Last updated: 2014-03-25Bibliographically approved

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Freitag, SonjaLarsson, Tore J.
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