Continuing Education for Nurses Taking Care of your Back


ContinuingEducation for Nurses: Taking Care of your Back

ContinuingEducation for Nurses: Taking Care of your Back

Definitionof Project

Nurseshave a lot of work-related back injuries. The good news is when youknow this fact you can take steps to prevent back injuries beforethey ever happen. More often than not, nurses are examined asproviders of services and are considered to be immune to illnessesand injuries. Indeed, it may be difficult to perceive nurses as beingon the other side of the spectrum where they actually requirehealthcare services. It goes without saying however, that theirprofession also comes with varied risks. Nurses are at high risk forwork-related back injuries. This paper presents a continuingeducation project for nurses in Oroville Hospital about back care.


Ihave been working for a month now in Oroville Hospital. OrovilleHospital is located at 2767 Olive Highway, Oroville, CA. The hospitalhas 153 beds acute care facility. It is a non-profit hospital withinpatient and outpatient services. It is the only hospital in thecity. The mission of the hospital is providing the best care in ButteCounty.

I’vedecided to work on this topic “Taking Care of Your Back” becausewhen I started working as a nurse in the hospital I start gettingback pains. After talking my colleagues I realized that this is acommon problem for a large number of nurses in the hospital andbeyond. This project aims at achieving varied specific goals. First,it aims at ensuring that nurses can name a minimum of three riskfactors that make them vulnerable to back problems. Secondly, it aimsat ensuring that nurses can demonstrate appropriate body mechanicsand postures as they undertake varied duties in the work place. Inaddition, it aims at ensuring that nurses have knowledge regardingthe ways in which back pain can be treated.


Anticipatedtimeline for “Taking Care of Your Back Project”:




Will contact with charge nurse from Medical Surgical floor in Oroville Hospital to get permission to implement my project.


Research about risk factors for back pains.

4/ 20/2015

Research about how back injuries are treated.


Research about appropriate body mechanics to prevent back injuries.


Prepare handouts and quizzes that will be given to nurses during teaching session.


Talk to nurses on the floor and arrange time to meet and implement teaching session with the charge nurse’s support.

5/ 18/2015

Implement teaching session for my project “ Taking Care of Your Back”

Rationaleof the Project

Researchhas demonstrated that about 9000 healthcare workers sustain disablinginjuries every day in the course of undertaking their work-relatedtasks. Indeed, disabling back pain and back injuries affect about 38percent of nursing staff with 12% of nurses that permanently leavethe profession cite back pain either as the primary or contributingfactor (Brown, 2003).

Thisproject aims at teaching nurses in preventing back injuries andpains, as well as informing them about the risk factors and thepreventive techniques that they can use to avert the possibility ofback injuries. This would be accomplished through the demonstrationof proper body mechanics.

Oneof the key benefits of the project is that it will assist nurses inthe medical surgical floor to adopt the appropriate when providingservices to patients. It is noted that a large number of them bendover when offering care to the patients instead of raising thepatient’s bed to the wait level. In addition, some nurses lift thepatient up without having the right posture. These have been shown toincrease the risk of back injuries and pains.

However,the project could be affected by varied challenges. First, it may bedifficult to get all nurses to attend the sessions as they havelimited time for the sessions. In addition, even in cases where thenurses attend the sessions, they may not have sufficient time toadopt the lessons learnt and change routine. Further, healthcareinstitutions may oppose the suggested changes especially in caseswhere it involves investing more funds. For instance, it may berequired that lifting equipment be used in the wards, while thehealthcare institution may not have sufficient funds to invest inthese equipments.


120hours will be spending to complete this project, which includescontacting with the charge person, doing research about the topic,preparing handouts/quizzes and implementing the project. Nurses’hourly rate in Oroville Hospital is between 35 to 45 dollars perhour, so for 120 hours the cost will be 4,200 to 5,400. Materialsneeded for this project includes handouts, quizzes for evaluationpurposes which all of these will be costing 20 dollars in total.Charge nurse is supporting my project and letting me implement thiscontinuing education project.


Volumesof research have been undertaken to determine the varied aspects ofback injury including the causes, treatments and most importantly theways of preventing the back injuries and pains. It is surprising thatinjuries for healthcare workers are three times more likely comparedto that of any other industry. In addition, the injury rates were sixtimes those of dock workers and construction workers, in spite of thefact that the later work in considerably messy and physicallydemanding careers (White,2010).Questions have been asked regarding the reasons for the highprevalence of injuries in spite of the numerous classes on how toprevent the back aches and injuries. Nevertheless, research hasindicated that the high prevalence cannot be attributed to thedeficiency of safe ways of manually caring for and lifting patientsrather it is because of the disparity between the defined standardsof carrying out tasks and the reality regarding how the same tasksare carried out (White,2010).For instance, it is required or recommended that the hands of workerswould be far from his ankles so as to reduce the weight. In reality,however, nurses kneel on beds when transferring patients and reachout entirely across and pull, which necessitates even worse bodymechanics (White,2010).Similarly, in instances where the hands of workers are 25 inches fromtheir ankles, the weight would have to be reduced by 60%. It isrequired that no weight is lifted beyond the 20lbs. IN reality,pulling up a patient in his bed necessitates lifting him almost offthe mattress. While the reach would not be far, about 50% of the bodyweight of the patient (75lbs) would be excessive lifting (White,2010).

Causesof back pain

Ininstances where the lifting tolerances are exceeded, theintervertebral disc’s endplate would be damaged withmicrofractures. The microfractures would heal with scar tissue andagglutinens that are less permeable and thicker than normal tissues.If this continues, the disc would be incapable of absorbing nutrientsand fluid, in which case it becomes degenerated, where it is soft,dry, porous and weakened (White,2010).Persistent degeneration would result in the collapsing of the disc,thereby narrowing the space available for nerve roots. This resultsin immense pressure for the nerves, causing muscle spasm and pain(White,2010).

Allnurses, by the nature of their work, are at risk of getting backinjuries and pains. This is especially considering the nature oftheir work, where they are required to stand for long periods oftime, lift patients up or even bend over them when providing any formof care. It is noteworthy that individuals who do not adopt theappropriate postures or body mechanics or lift patients that exceedtheir weight limits are particularly at risk (White, 2010).


Thereare varied factors that increase the risk that a nurse would get backinjuries and pains. First, lifting weights that are above theacceptable limits for an individual would increase the risk. Inaddition, failure to adopt the right posture when sitting would putunnecessary pressure on the back.

Preventionand treatment of Back Injuries

Variedstrategies may be adopted in preventing the occurrence of backinjuries. First, the nurses would need to learn to lift properly. Ininstances where they are moving, lifting and carrying heavy objects,they would need to keep them close to the body and try as much asthey can to maintain the spine’s natural curve. This necessitateslifting with the legs rather than the back. In addition, they wouldneed to adopt proper posture, which could include relaxed knees,chest raised slightly, head balanced with chin rather than juttingforward and shoulders down back and even. Maintaining the spine’snatural curvature when standing or sitting would be imperative asoften as possible (White, 2010).

Treatmentfor back injuries/pains

Inthe treatment of back injuries, a patient could adopt one of thevaried effective treatments. First, he could take antibiotics at therecommendation of the physician. Medications such as Non-SteroidalAnti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS) can be helpful in eliminating thelower back pain and injuries (Touliopoulos,2015).Further, physical therapy could be used to alleviate the pain. Thismay be complemented by adopting the appropriate posture both whensitting and standing.


Theachievement of the objectives of the project will be measured throughgiving questions to nurses at the end of the session. The questionswill be about every element that will have been taught in thesession. The answers that the nurses provide to the questions willbe discussed at the end in order to determine how much of theconcepts they have grasped. I will know that the objectives of theproject are met by observing their return demonstration once I haveshown them the appropriate body postures.

Oneof the major outcomes would be the demonstration of appropriate bodymechanics by nurses in order to prevent back injuries. Charge nurseswill post handouts in the communication board within the nursingstation area in order to increase the awareness of all peopleregarding this education.

Thisproject is in line with my professional goals as a medical surgicalnurse. It not only allows for the enhancement of my knowledgepertaining to the back pain and the preventative measures, but alsoallows me to share with other nurses, thereby increasing their outputin the workplace.


Brown,D.B (2003).Nursesand Preventable Back Injuries. AmericanJournal of Critical Care&nbspVol.12&nbspno. 5&nbsp400-401

Touliopoulos,S.J (2015). Low Back Strain. Web retrieved from&lt

White,E (2010). The Elephant in the Room: Huge Rates of Nursing andHealthcare Worker Injury. NortheastSafe Patient Handling Conference