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Biomechanical evaluation of nursing tasks in a hospital setting

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A field study was conducted to investigate spinal kinematics and loading in the nursing profession using objective and subjective measurements of selected nursing tasks observed in a hospital setting. Spinal loading was estimated using trunk motion dynamics measured by the lumbar motion monitor (LMM) and lower back compressive and shear forces were estimated using the three-dimensional (3D) Static Strength Prediction Program. Subjective measures included the rate of perceived physical effort and the perceived risk of low back pain. A multiple logistic regression model, reported in the literature for predicting low back injury based on defined risk groups, was tested. The study results concluded that the major risk factors for low back injury in nurses were the weight of patients handled, trunk moment, and trunk axial rotation. The activities that required long time exposure to awkward postures were perceived by nurses as a high physical effort. This study also concluded that self-reported perceived exertion could be used as a tool to identify nursing activities with a high risk of low-back injury.
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Keywords: Compressive and shear force; Kinematics; Nursing; Perceived risk of musculoskeletal injury; Spine

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, Mingchi University of Technology, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C. 2: Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems, University of Central Florida, FL, USA 3: Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, USA 4: Center for Industrial Ergonomics, Lutz Hall Room 445, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, USA

Publication date: November 1, 2007

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