NURSES VULNERABLE TO MUSCULOSKELETAL PAIN

By Our Special Correspondent

When did you last think of nurses, the caretakers in white uniform who’re responsible for you while in hospital? While doctors come and go as consultants at their own timing for the rest of the day and night it is the nurses desk in the ward or floor which takes responsibility for patients who buzz for them every now and again – easy patients, difficult patients, it’s the band of nurses which make a difference to the quality of healthcare in the day-to-day running of a hospital. Think of them anew at the back and call of doctors and patients alike!
An independent study by Godrej Interio on the occasion of World Health Day on April 7 reveals that “90% of nurses have MSD (musculoskeletal disorder).” The study reveals that long working hours, overtime and work overload affects the physical and psychological wellbeing of nurses. “while more than 90% of nurses have MSD, 61% also experienced neck pain sometimes. Most recurring pain area (51% is leg ache, followed by knee pain (51%. Similarly, 51% nurses complained of upper and lower back issues, 41% reported to have taken leave for 1-3 days whereas 7% nurses have taken leave for 406 days in a span of two months to manage the pain, indicating an evident productivity loss to the organization.”
Other observations coming up courtesy the study: Even before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, India was suffering from a shortage of 2 million nurses (
WHO, 2019). The nurse to patient ratio for India is only around 2:1 nurses per 1,000 population. The Godrej study also explored the strain on the workforce due to the acute shortage of caregivers in the country.
It revealed amongst other things that 88% of nurses work for 8-10 hours a day along with doing overtime at least twice or thrice a month. Similarly, 74% of the nurses stand for more than 4-6 hours a day at a stretch, causing stress on their lower limbs. While 20% of nurses reported performing double-shift duty at least twice a month, 26% of nurses were requested to work on their off-days twice a month whereas 10% of nurses were called on duty more than twice a month on their off-days.
Comments Anil Mathur, CEO, Godrej Interio, “Nurses form the single largest group of health professionals. In all care-delivery settings, they have a critical role in improving care, advance health, and provide value. Nurses manage patients with intense care needs beyond hospitals and make them adapt to home or other settings. Nurses also work as health coaches, counselors, and they handle many other roles to prevent illness and promote wellness. In response to a changed system and new responsibilities, the challenges faced by nurses must be addressed on priority. We at Godrej Inteiro focus on creating ergonomically designed healing environments with an emphasis on efficiency, empathy and wellbeing of all the healthcare teams, including nursing staff. An efficient nursing workforce will make healthcare delivery smoother, and the patients will feel safer and more secure.”

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