Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2003;29(6):468-477    pdf


Work technique of nurses in patient transfer tasks and associations with personal factors

by Kjellberg K, Lagerström M, Hagberg M

Objectives Back disorders among nursing personnel are associated with the worktask of assisting patients during transfers. The objectives of the study were to explore the work technique applied by nursing personnel in patient transfer tasks and to determine whether different personal factors were associated with work technique safety.

Methods The work technique used by 102 nurses to perform two common patient transfer tasks in orthopedic wards, transfer higher up in bed and transfer from bed to wheelchair, was examined with the use of video recordings and an observation instrument. A work technique score was calculated for each performed transfer. It indicated the level of musculoskeletal safety and hazard for the nurse. The participants also filled out a questionnaire concerning different personal factors.

Results A variety of strategies was used by the nurses to perform the transfer tasks. Being older and suffering from low-back symptoms were factors associated with the use of poor work technique in both tasks. There was also an association between male gender and poor technique in transferring patients from bed to wheelchair.

Conclusions The results indicate an association between poor work techniques and low-back symptoms. Special attention should be paid to older nurses, nurses with low-back problems, and possibly also to male nurses when training programs on patient transfer technique are designed, as these groups seem to apply comparatively poor work techniques in patient transfer tasks.

This article refers to the following texts of the Journal: 1998;24(6):449-464  1998;24(2):85-97  1998;24(5):367-375