Musculoskeletal Disorders Case Study

Musculoskeletal Disorders in the Nursing Profession: A Case Study

Musculoskeletal Disorders in the Nursing Profession: A Case Study

Kaitlin Kee-Dayton

Beth Blickensderfer, Ph.D.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Daytona Beach, FL

This ergonomics assessment focused on a female Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and her life inside and outside of her job. In particular, this case study assessed how working as a nurse may affect the human body in terms of Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs). The researcher first conducted an in-depth interview with the nurse about her workplace layout, typical daily work schedule, work habits, physical challenges, MSD injuries she has sustained, and the workplace environment/organizational culture. Next, the researcher conducted three MSD risk assessments. Those assessments were the Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA), the self-report Body Part Discomfort (BPD) survey, and the Moore-Garg Strain Index. These particular assessment tools were selected based on the activities that she performs each night on the job – including heavy lifting. The results of the interview and the assessments indicated that her workplace had a number of MSD risks for nurses, was a high stress environment, and in general, was very challenging in a non-productive way. The researcher suggested a variety of changes aimed at reducing the physical workload, mental workload, and stress that the employees in the organization experience. This included but were not limited to spreading workload evenly between all staff (i.e. aides, LPNs, RNs, and supervisors), creating a more emotionally supportive and open work environment, and reducing the amount of weight on med cars, treatment carts, and chart pulling. Although not all of the suggested changes may be feasible, even implementing a portion of the ideas would be beneficial in making the workplace more efficient and MSDs less likely to happen. Future research should include additional data collection such as using other assessment tools and interviewing more nurses. A comprehensive dataset could provide the organization even more information to use when improving their workplace.



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