Oct 19, 2016

Musculoskeletal Injuries in Nursing

A research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that Nurses suffer a high rate of Musculoskeletal injuries, which require time off from work. Many would be surprised that Nurse is high up on the list since the nature of the profession is considered not labor intensive. Construction workers, stock clerks and truckers are just above Nurses in injury rate.

A large portion of these injuries are back injuries. Nurses often have to lift and or move patients during their shift, causing them to suffer from back pain. Proper lifting mechanics is important to try to minimize the risk, however, if anyone has lifted or moved a person before they know it is not the same as lifting a box, weight, etc. The human body is an awkward object to lift or move. So is there a way for Nurses to minimize even more of their risks of injury when lifting or moving a patient?

My personal answer to this question is yes! Having a strong core has many benefits including improving balance, stability and generating power. So, you may ask how will any of this help you as a Nurse? Simple! Because a human body is an awkward object balance and stability is important to protecting yourself from injury, especially if you have a patient who is wanting to flail around. How does a strong core help generate power? Glad you asked. Your core helps transfer power from your legs (your strongest muscles in the body) to your upper body. This is important because if you have strong legs but a weak core you are going to lose a lot of power.

So now that we have established how having a strong core can help minimize the risk of injury its time to show you how to strengthen your core. Normal sit ups or crunches are not going to cut it for Nurses because the movement pattern doesn’t translate to how you lift or move a patient. For nurses I would consider sit ups/crunches as an accessory strength exercise, meaning it will help general core strength but is not specific to the actual movement of lifting or moving a patient. Here are a few exercises that will help strengthen your core that will translate over to lifting/moving a patient:

  • Planks
  • Squats
  • Supermans
  • Lunges
  • V Ups

If you are a RN and are passionate about fitness, join this Facebook Group “FIT RN’s” and Instagram @officialfitrns to meet other aspiring RNs just like you.

Contact me for more Fitness Questions or Travel Nursing Job

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