Table of Contents
Advances in Nursing
Volume 2015, Article ID 928538, 7 pages
Research Article

Quantification of Patient and Equipment Handling for Nurses through Direct Observation and Subjective Perceptions

1Low Back Biomechanics and Workplace Stress Laboratory, University of Cincinnati, 423 Kettering Laboratory Building, 3223 Eden Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45267-0056, USA
2College of Allied Health Sciences, University of Cincinnati, French East Building, 3202 Eden Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45267-0379, USA
3Cincinnati’s Children’s Medical Center, 3333 Burnet Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45229-3026, USA

Received 16 September 2014; Accepted 4 December 2014

Academic Editor: Sue Read

Copyright © 2015 Tiffany Poole Wilson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Musculoskeletal disorders have continued to plague nurses in hospitals and long-term care facilities. Low back and shoulder injuries are the most prevalent, frequently linked to patient handling activities. Exposure to patient handling has been predominantly quantified by subjective responses of nurses. Objective. To directly observe handling of patients and other medical equipment for nurses during a 12-hour work shift. Methods. Twenty nurses working in three different intensive care units at a Midwest teaching hospital were directly observed during 12-hour day shifts. Direct observation included documenting frequency and type of handling performed and whether lift assist devices were utilized. Two additional surveys were completed by nurses to assess current pain levels and perceptions of lifting being performed. The observed lifting was compared to the perceived lifting with simple inference statistics. Results. Nurses have a high prevalence of manually lifting patients and medical devices but limited use of lifting assist devices. Nurses handled patients 69 times per shift and medical equipment 6 times per shift, but less than 3% utilized a lift assist device. Nurses suffered from high levels of pain at the end of the shift, with the highest prevalence in the lower back, lower legs, and feet/ankles (all above 60%).