The Influence of Psychosocial and Patient Handling Factors on the Musculoskeletal Health of Nurses

  • Mark G. BoocockEmail author
  • Fiona Trevelyan
  • Liz Ashby
  • Andy Ang
  • Nguyen Diep
  • Stephen Teo
  • Felicity Lamm
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 820)


Psychosocial work demands, the level of organisational support, and the provision and implementation of a patient handling programme have been identified as important determinants of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) in nurses. The aim of this study was to describe the prevalence of MSD and explore the association of work-related psychosocial and patient handling factors on the musculoskeletal health of New Zealand (NZ) nurses. A sample (N = 201) of NZ nurses from the 2013 NZ Census completed an online survey in 2016–17 (45% of those eligible). MSD prevalence was measured using a modified version of the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire. Psychosocial work demands were measured using The Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire (COPSOQ II). Components of “The Tool for Risk Outstanding in Patient Handling Interventions (TROPHI)” assessed patient handling practices. Binary logistic regression provided measures of association between psychosocial and patient handling factors, and MSD. The overall prevalence of MSD was 58% in the previous 12 months and 31% for the last 7 days. Low back (55%) and shoulder (54%) complaints were the most frequently reported MSD during previous 12 months, and co-morbidity of symptoms was high (59%). Higher work pace and emotional demands were significantly associated with MSD. Completing a patient handling task without equipment when equipment was prescribed, and perceived lack of suitable equipment, space, environment, skills or knowledge affecting patient care were also significantly associated with MSD. Interventions for the prevention and management of work-related MSD in nurses should take a multifaceted approach inclusive of physical and psychosocial components embedded within a comprehensive patient handling programme.


Musculoskeletal disorders Psychosocial risk factors Patient handling Nursing 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark G. Boocock
    • 1
    Email author
  • Fiona Trevelyan
    • 1
  • Liz Ashby
    • 1
  • Andy Ang
    • 2
  • Nguyen Diep
    • 3
  • Stephen Teo
    • 3
  • Felicity Lamm
    • 2
  1. 1.Health and Rehabilitation Research InstituteAuckland University of TechnologyAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.Centre for Occupational Health and Safety ResearchAuckland University of TechnologyAucklandNew Zealand
  3. 3.Edith Cowan UniversityJoondalupAustralia

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