Health Care Workers Health care/social assistance Ergonomics Injury prevention Musculoskeletal disorders

New for nurses: Online continuing education on preventing MSDs

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Lowell, MA — The Center for the Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace, one of NIOSH’s Total Worker Health Centers of Excellence, has introduced a free online continuing education program intended to help nurses prevent musculoskeletal injuries during clinical care.

Ergonomics in Healthcare includes learning modules, case studies, videos, reference materials and guidelines for reducing injuries incurred while treating patients. The program discusses ergonomic risk factors in health care settings – including workstation layout and weight of handled objects – and ways employers can manage them.

According to 2015 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing assistants and registered nurses ranked among the top six occupations to experience musculoskeletal disorders. A Sept. 4 CPH-NEW press release cites data showing that sprains, strains and tears from overexertion and patient handling account for 45 percent of all occupational injuries among hospital workers. In Massachusetts, MSDs represent 25 percent of workers’ compensation lost-time claims filed by hospital workers.

“This new online continuing education tool will help nurses protect their own health and advocate for comprehensive safe patient handling and mobility programs in their health care facilities,” Laura Punnett, CPH-NEW co-director and University of Massachusetts-Lowell professor, said in the release.

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