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A Nurse Manager's Role In Reducing Musculoskeletal Disorders

3250 words - 13 pages

A nurse manager plays an important role on a hospital unit. Evans defines the role of a nurse manager as one who makes sure all the needs required on a daily basis are accomplished (Evans, 2011). Evans goes on to say that one primary responsibility of a nurse manager acting in the position of a leader is to “raise the level of expectation and help employees reach their highest level of potential excellence” (Evans, 2011). With this said, it is important to identify potential barriers and problems that a nurse manager would face on a given unit and create or adopt evidence-based interventions to eliminate these problems. When this is accomplished, it will help to foster a work environment that maintains safety to patients as well as staff.
One potential barrier that affects nurses is musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) such as lower back or shoulder pain related to unsafe patient handling and lifting. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010, nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants had a 7% increase in the incidence of musculoskeletal disorders while ranking second overall in categories of employees with injuries requiring days away from work and total percent of musculoskeletal disorders (2011). Registered nurses ranked fifth in these same categories (2011).
Following the QSEN model, this problem is a concern that falls under the safety category. The Institute of Medicine defines safety as, “minimizes risk of harm to patients and providers through both system effectiveness and individual performance” (IOM, 2003). A nurse manager must address this problem because without nurses who are able to work, patients cannot be taken care of in a safe and effective way. As a nurse manager, it would be important to begin collecting data and evaluating evidence-based interventions that could be used to alleviate this problem.
Jane Smith, RN is a nurse manager on a medical ICU floor. Recently, it has come to her attention that several of the nurses that work on her floor have been calling in at work because of lower back and shoulder injuries. Jane believes that the primary cause of the increase in call-ins is directly related to musculoskeletal disorders and injuries caused by improper lifting techniques and misuse of lift devices. Oftentimes, nurses or other hospital personnel do not use correct technique when lifting patients which results in pulled or sprained muscles, slipped discs in the back or shoulder injuries. These injuries cause direct problems to patient care because there are not enough healthy nurses to work on the unit, which is unsafe. Currently, there is no mandated national policy when it comes to lifting policies and procedures, but according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there are guidelines in place for nursing homes (“Guidelines for Nursing”, 2009). These guidelines state, “manual lifting of residents be minimized in all cases and eliminated when...

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