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  1. Trinkoff, Alison M. ScD, RN, FAAN
  2. Brady, Barbara MS, RN
  3. Nielsen, Karen BSN, RN


Objective: The purpose of this study was to describe the availability of preventive devices and training in relation to neck, shoulder, and back musculoskeletal injuries/disorders (MSD) in registered nurses.


Summary background data: Nurses have one of the highest rates of MSD of any occupation. Studies have shown that mechanical lifting devices and lifting teams can reduce MSD rates and associated costs.


Methods: Data from 1163 randomly selected currently working nurses (1+ years on the current job) were collected in anonymous mailed surveys (74% response rate). MSD cases had neck, shoulder, and/or back symptoms for at least 1 week, or at least monthly, and moderate or more pain, in the past year.


Results: Nurses with mechanical lifting devices available were significantly less likely to have neck or back MSDs. Back injury was less likely when lifting teams were available. However, adjustable beds and transfer sheets were associated with greater odds of back MSD. Training in workstation adjustment was associated with significantly lower MSD prevalence, though postural training was not.


Conclusions: Though use of mechanical devices and lifting teams was limited in nursing workplaces, these prevention strategies were related to reduced odds of MSD. Nursing administrators can use these findings to consider workplace changes.