1. Morales, Margaret MA, RN, CNAA, BC
  2. Hudson, Anne BSN, RN

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In my nursing career, I have often used storytelling as a way to convey a critical nursing point ("Tell Me a Story,"Editorial, December). It's an art form that brings harmony and joy to our profession. Keep sharing the stories.


Thank you for emphasizing the power of nurses' stories to "draw attention to problems that cry out for a policy response." One such problem is the widespread practice of hospitals discarding nurses who have been disabled by lifting patients manually.


After suffering a severe spinal injury from lifting patients, I was refused lighter duty by my employer. This led me to look into back injury among nurses. I discovered that 83% of nurses work with back pain 1; 38% or more will miss work because of an injury 2; research has repeatedly proven that the use of safe, gentle, mechanical lifts prevents most patient-handling injuries to nurses 3 as well as bruising and skin tears in patients 4; and young people continue to be recruited to perform heavy lifting known to cause painful disability. Personal anecdotes from injured nurses, along with evidence supporting the use of mechanical lifts to reduce injuries to nurses and associated medical and compensation costs, are included in a book I coedited with William Charney, Back Injury Among Healthcare Workers: Causes, Solutions, and Impacts. 5


The ANA's new Handle with Care ergonomics campaign (see will help injured nurses tell their stories and inspire all nurses to support federal and state policy, such as "no-lifting" regulations (which will eliminate the manual lifting of patients by health care workers), and to work to establish policies protecting injured nurses by providing permanent light-duty jobs to them.




1. American Nurses Association. http://NursingWorld.orghealth and safety survey. [Web site]. 2001. [Context Link]


2. Owen B. The epidemic of back injuries in health care workers in the United States. In: Charney W, Fragala G, editors. The epidemic of health care worker injury: an epidemiology. Boca Raton: CRC Press; 1999. p. 47-56. [Context Link]


3. Charney W. Preventing back injury to healthcare workers using lift teams. Journal of Healthcare Safety Compliance and Infection Control 2003; 1(2):21-9. [Context Link]


4. Garg A. Long-term effectiveness of "zero-lift program" in seven nursing homes and one hospital. [Web site]. 1999. [Context Link]


5. Charney W, Hudson A, editors. Back injury among healthcare workers. Boca Raton: CRC Press; 2003. [Context Link]