Musculoskeletal disorders among rural Australian nursing students

Smith, Derek R., and Leggat, Peter A. (2004) Musculoskeletal disorders among rural Australian nursing students. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 12 (6). pp. 241-245.

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Abstract

Aim: To investigate the prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) among rural Australian nursing students and compare the results with other international studies.

Method and analysis: A self-reporting questionnaire adapted from previous research, was administered to 260 students from all three grades of a major nursing school in regional north Queensland, Australia.

Results: A high proportion of students reported an MSD at some body site (80.0%), with low back pain being the most common condition (59.2%). This was followed by MSD of the neck (34.6%), knee (25.0%), shoulder (23.8%), feet (16.5%), wrist (12.7%) and legs (11.9%). MSD of the shoulder was slightly more common among males when compared to females (39.3% vs 22.0%, P = 0.0424). Previous paid employment as a nurse or nursing assistant was found to increase the risk of upper arm MSD by a factor of 10.8 (odds ratio 10.8, 95% confidence interval 1.9–205.8, P = 0.0276).

Conclusion: Overall, this investigation suggests that MSD is more frequent among rural Australian nursing students, when compared to their counterparts around the world. Their high rate of MSD is also comparable to that reported by hospital nurses in other countries.

What is already known and why the study was done: Although musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are known to affect nursing students at reasonably high rates, few studies have been undertaken in rural Australia. Therefore, it was considered necessary to investigate MSD among a complete cross-section of rural Australian nursing students, using a questionnaire adapted from previous research. Findings were then compared with similar international studies.

What this study adds to the published literature: A high proportion of students reported an MSD at some body site, with low back pain being the most common condition. Overall, this investigation suggests that MSD is more frequent among rural Australian nursing students, when compared to their counterparts around the world. Their high rate of MSD is also comparable to that reported by hospital nurses in other countries.

Item ID: 5944
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: Australia; musculoskeletal disorders; nursing students; survey; low back pain; rural; student nurse
ISSN: 1440-1584
Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2010 00:31
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111705 Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920504 Occupational Health @ 100%
Citation Count from Scopus Scopus 39
Downloads: Total: 1
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