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Revista Portuguesa de Saúde Pública

versão impressa ISSN 0870-9025


SERRANHEIRA, Florentino et al. Work related musculoskeletal disorders in Portuguese nurses: "part of the job" or work-related diseases?. Rev. Port. Sau. Pub. [online]. 2012, vol.30, n.2, pp.193-203. ISSN 0870-9025.

Introduction: Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSD) are a worldwide health problem, particularly in health care professionals. A nationwide study was done focused on the characterization of work-related musculoskeletal symptoms in Portuguese registered nurses (RN) in order to establish a baseline methodology to manage/prevent WRMSD. Methods: All Nurses (RN) were invited to complete, in web platform, a questionnaire of 4 different topics: (i) socio-demographic data, (ii) fifteen anatomic areas of musculoskeletal symptoms, (iii) tasks identification and its relation with symptoms and (iv) health status characterization. Statistical analysis was based on descriptive statistics and associations with the χ2 test with a significance level of 5%. Results: A total of 2.140 RN answered the questionnaire (3.42% of all RN). Spine symptoms were among those most frequent symptoms (49% of RN referred in the last 12 months, 25% in the last 7 days) and their related work absence (5.51% of referrals). Other relevant indicators were symptoms intensity (19% were classified as high in the responding group) and symptoms frequency (33% of referrals were superior to 6 daily episodes). Associations between typical work tasks and complaints were found significant (p<0.05) with (i) drug administration, positioning, mobilization and patient transfer and hand-fist symptoms (χ2=9.089; P=.028; χ2=8.337; P=.040; χ2=9.599; P=.022; χ2=9.399; P=.024 respectively) and with (ii) bed hygiene and shoulder, elbow and hand-fist symptoms (χ2=8.853; P=.031; 8.317; P=.040; 9.599; P=.022 respectively). Discussion and conclusions: Work related musculoskeletal disorders in hospital nurses are most of times preventable, and they should not be commonly related to a normal work result. Workplace intervention in process, in temporal organization and in equipments could prevent WRMSD. Our descriptive study aims to evidence the elevated prevalence of WRMSD in RN and the certainty to develop occupational prevention programs in hospitals.

Palavras-chave : Work-related musculoskeletal disorders; Nurses; Occupational Health; Ergonomics; Occupational Health and Safety.

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