Prevalence of musculoskeletal pain in nursing professionals working in orthopedic setting

ABSTRACT BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Musculoskeletal pain is considered one of the major causes for leave of absence. In the hospital setting, researchers classify the nursing activity as one of the most harmful to human health. The aim of this study was to identify the prevalence of musculoskeletal pain in nursing professionals working in the orthopedic setting at a hospital in the South of Brazil. METHODS: The study population consisted of 29 nursing professionals among which three were nursing assistant, 23 nurse techs, and three nurses. The workers answered a questionnaire with questions related to musculoskeletal pain (Nordic adapted), sociodemographic profile, labor characteristics, and habits and lifestyle. RESULTS: The prevalence of musculoskeletal pain in the studied subjects was 96.6% in at least one of the body parts in the last 12 months. The main regions involved were the lower and upper back (79.3 and 75.9%, respectively), the neck (65.5%), the shoulder (62.1%), ankle/feet (55.2%) and wrists/hands (51.7%). Of the professionals studied, 65.5% reported a leave of absence due to health problems in last the 12 months. It was identified that nurse practitioners showed a higher prevalence of pain in the majority of the body regions in comparison to the other professionals. CONCLUSION: The prevalence of musculoskeletal pain reported by the nursing professionals in the study was considered high. This points to the need for health promotion programs such as exercise at the workplace, ergonomics, pre-established breaks and more professionals in the ward, measures described in the literature that can contribute to reduce the overload and improve the working conditions and quality of life of these professionals.