Musculoskeletal injuries among operating room nurses: results from a multicenter survey in Rome, Italy
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Chronic disorders of the musculoskeletal system, particularly low back pain (LBP), are increasing and represent a social and economic problem of growing importance, especially if correlated with working conditions. Health care workers are at higher risk of developing LBP during work shifts in the hospital. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of LBP among operating room nurses and to investigate the risk factors for musculoskeletal injuries in the operating room.
We carried out a cross-sectional study that included operating room nurses from nine hospitals. Information on sociodemographic characteristics, lifestyle habits, working activity and psychological attitude of nurses was collected using an anonymous self-administered structured questionnaire. We evaluated the association of frequency, localization and intensity of LBP (FLI) with qualitative variables, making use of univariate analysis, chi-square test and Fisher’s exact test. Multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to identify the variables that affected the FLI. The covariates included in the model were the variables that had a p < 0.25 in the univariate analysis. The significance level was fixed at p < 0.05.
We studied a total of 185 (60.5% male) operating room nurses with a mean age of 36.08 (SD = 7.08). The chi-square test showed that FLI is associated with age (p = 0.042), physical activity (p = 0.036) and work shift (p = 0.01). The logistic regression indicated that age >35 years vs. age <35 (OR = 2.68; 95% CI = 1.17–6.18) and diurnal work shift vs. diurnal/nocturnal (OR = 4.00; 95% CI = 1.72–9.0) represent risk factors associated with FLI, while physical activity is a protective factor (OR = 0.47; 95% CI = 0.20–1.08).
The data suggest that it is important to promote new programs of prevention based on professional training and physical activity among nurses and to improve the organization of work shifts in the hospital.
KeywordsLow back pain Nurses Operating theater
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