Ergonomics

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In this unit lesson, we discuss the risk factors associated with the development of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs). Ergonomic injuries are prevalent in the healthcare industry due to the nature of the work required as illustrated in our lesson with Mr. Bach, a certified nurse assistant who injured his back while attempting to assist a resident from the floor to the bed. In recent years, many facilities have implemented policies, purchased equipment, and provided training to address ergonomic injuries. However, WMSDs, specifically back injuries, are still pretty commonplace within the industry. Using the example of Mr. Bach from our unit lesson, do you believe healthcare workers recognize the risks of moving and lifting patients? Why, or why not?

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Shandra:

I believe that they are aware of the inherent risk considering they are trained in school on the proper technique for lifting a patient. However, that does not mean the using the proper technique will prevent a back injury. In a study conducted by the Spine Research Center at The Ohio State University determined that there is no safe way to do it [lift patients] when using body mechanics (Zwerdling, 2015). Even using the correct body mechanics, keeping your back straight and bending at the hips and knees, they are still become hurt. The Director of the Spine Research Institute, William Marras, believes that this injuries will keep occurring unless hospital staff stop lifting patients manually and use machines or other equipment to do it for them. 

            The American Nurses Association along with the National Nurse United Union, have concluded that is it not safe for nurses to lift patients and that they cannot lift them safely without the usage of proper equipment. However, most hospitals or facilities do not have the equipment to do or do not follow the findings of these associations. It seems like they are between a rock and a hard place. If they lift they patient, it could injury them but if they do not they are refusing to help a patient. 

References

Zwerdling, D. (2015). Even 'Proper' Technique Exposes Nurses' Spines to Dangerous Forces. Retrieved from NPR: https://www.npr.org/2015/02/11/383564180/even-proper-technique-exposes-nurses-spines-to-dangerous-forces

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