Michael Calliahn:Getting to the Core of Back Injury Prevention in Nurses

  • Lennie, Terry (PI)
  • Bazrgari, Babak (CoI)
  • Callihan, Michael (CoI)
  • Warshawsky, Nora (CoI)

Grants and Contracts Details


Getting to the core of back injury prevention in nurses Introduction: Lower back injury in nursing is a major occupational health concern. Nearly 61,000 nurses report back injuries every year while in the workplace and more are suspected but unreported. The use of mechanical lifting equipment has reduced the incidence of back injury but nurses are still injured while performing daily nursing activities. One factor perpetuating the problem is the lifting techniques traditionally taught in nursing curriculums do not focus on the mechanics that could prevent back injury. Biomechanics have been examined in weightlifting movements through the usage of electromyography (EMG) and motion capture, but has limited application to the workplace of a nurse. Purpose: To compare the biomechanical differences while performing nursing tasks between a group of nursing students that regularly perform weight lifting activities and a group of nursing students that do not. A comparison will be made between the two groups identifying the angle of the hips, knees, and trunk, as well as the muscular activation of the core stabilizers in the lower back. It is envisioned that data will provide insight into future training interventions that may lower the risk of low back injury. Methods: Thirty, female senior year nursing students will be recruited from a four year college affiliated with an academic medical center divided into two groups of 15 each. The inclusion criteria for group 1 are: height between 5’6” and 5’10”; body weight of 118 to 181 pounds; and not actively engaged in the fitness community. Inclusion Criteria for group 2 are: same height and weight parameters but engaged in weightlifting exercises at least twice a week for the preceding three months. Three nursing movements will be compared between groups: -turning of a simulated patient in bed, the repositioning a simulated patient up in bed, and the assisting of a simulated patient to the floor as would occur if the patient became weak or collapsed during ambulation. Muscle activation during movements will be measured by EMG with surface probes placed on the lower back from L1 to the L5 S1 joint and the gluteal muscles. Body movement will be recorded by motion capture from surface reflectors attached along their spine, hips, and knees to capture motion of the trunk, hip, and knee angle. Participants will perform the three patient care movements, three times and data averaged. Between-group comparisons of EMG muscle activation and body motions will be made by t-test. Research will form the basis of the dissertation that is required to complete the PhD program. Keywords: Motion capture; EMG; core stabilization
Effective start/end date11/1/1610/31/17


  • American Association of Occupational Health Nurses Foundation: $3,000.00


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