Musculoskeletal disorders among hospital nurses in rural Japan
Submitted: 9 September 2003
Revised: 12 November 2003
Published: 19 December 2003
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Smith DR, Kondo N, Tanaka E, Tanaka H, Hirasawa K, Yamagata Z.
|Derek Smith||Zentaro Yamagata|
Citation: Smith DR, Kondo N, Tanaka E, Tanaka H, Hirasawa K, Yamagata Z. Musculoskeletal disorders among hospital nurses in rural Japan. Rural and Remote Health 3: 241. (Online) 2003. Available: http://www.rrh.org.au
Introduction: Although musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) represent a significant occupational problem for hospital nurses, few investigations target nurses in rural facilities. This study investigated the prevalence and correlates of MSD among nurses within an affiliated hospital conglomerate of rural Japan.
Methods: A self-reporting survey was used as diagnostic tool; the reliability, validity and cost-effectiveness of this method has been established.
Results: An initial group of 329 nurses was recruited from three affiliated, rural locations in Yamanashi prefecture, central Japan; 247 usable replies were obtained (final response rate: 75.1%). The 12-month period-prevalence of self-reported MSD at any body site was 91.9% (95% CI 87.8-94.7). Low back pain (LBP) was the most commonly reported MSD with a prevalence of 82.6% (95% CI 77.4-86.8). Next most reported were shoulder (61.1%, 95% CI 54.9-67.0), neck (36.8%, 95% CI 31.1-43.0), upper back (29.1%, 95% CI 23.8-35.1), knee (23.5%, 95% CI 18.6-29.1) and upper leg MSD (19.4%, 95% CI 15.0-24.8). MSD of the wrist (14.2%, 95% CI 10.4-19.1), upper arm (13.0%, 95% CI 9.3 -17.7) and lower arm (11.7% 95% CI 8.3-16.4) were less common. Logistic regression indicated that nurses who were regularly involved in the manual handling of patients had an increased LBP risk of 16.7 (OR 16.7, 95% CI 1.3-412.7, p = 0.0340) when compared with nurses who were not involved in manual handling of patients.
Conclusion: Overall, our study indicated that MSD is common among rural Japanese nurses and its prevalence is consistent between related facilities. The excessive amount of LBP, however, suggests that Japanese nurses are at higher risk of this condition compared with their foreign counterparts.
Keywords: Japan, low back pain, musculoskeletal disorders, Nurse, questionnaire survey.
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