The nursing profession needs a lot of lifting, while most of the lifting been done is always heavy- literally and figuratively. This implies that most nurses tend to have musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) like back injuries. As of December 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that nursing assistants had the highest MSD incidence rates, totaling about 393 throughout private, state, and local government sectors.

As a nurse you are responsible for people's lives it’s paramount that you avoid becoming the patient yourself. Here are some precautions you may take to reduce your risks of suffering a back injury at work below

Have your back strengthen with exercise

You will suffer less from injury when you are in a good shape. Try to do some basic exercise to help support your muscles and have your back strengthened. Also, consult your doctor to be certain which type of exercises you should engage in, since some might aggravate any pre-existing medical issues you may have.

Always assess the situation

Before doing anything, you should reflect on what you can do to get a patient from point A to point B. is your patient underweight or overweight, light or heavy? Does the patient make use of a bedpan or there is a need for the patient to be transferred to another room? Is your patient hostile, angry, or docile? Are they obstructions that must be removed for accident not to occur? You answering all these questions will help you know the most efficient way for you to move your patients without neither of you coming to harm. 

Seek Assistance from Coworkers

You are not required to perform all the heavy lifting on your own. Reach out to coworkers who are on standby and ask for their assistance. Estimate how much weight each of you can bear and divide it accordingly. The basic laws of body mechanics still apply when raising a patient alone.

Have your muscles warmed up before lifting

If the patient you want to move is far away from you, bring him/her closer. It is critical that your load is close to your center of gravity (i.e. your abdomen).

  • To achieve balance, widen your stance.
  • Maintain a firm grip on the patient while keeping your arms straight.
  • Tuck your chin into your chest.
  • Lift with your legs rather than your back.
  • Lifting should be done without jerking.
  • Maintain a straight back. Bending forward or sideways is not recommended.

Take Regular Breaks

It's natural for your body to suffer if you've been moving and lifting patients all day. Allow yourself time to recuperate between lifts by taking a rest. This, along with timing yourself, ensures that your energy levels endure throughout the day.


Back problems, and injuries in general, do not have to be unavoidable for nurses. Look at all of your alternatives. Determine which is the greatest long-term choice for you and be firm about it. In the end, you'll be glad you made the best decision.

May 12, 2023

Natasha Osei

Passionate Nurse Practitioner | People person
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