Patient transfers cause work injuries


A new survey has found that clinicians and nurses are highly vulnerable to work injuries, the bulk caused by patient transfers, causing them to miss shifts or alter their activities while on the job.

The survey, by healthcare furniture specialists Nurture, found that one in three clinicians and nurses has experienced an injury when moving patients from bed to chair.

Nearly half (47 percent) of those surveyed perform patient transfers more than once a week. While a vast majority reports a low to moderate level of fear/concern around their jobs, risk of patient injury (31 percent) is a greater concern amongst surveyed clinicians and nurses than risk of personal injury (20 percent).

According to the 2013 Nurture by Steelcase’s State of Clinicians & Nurses Report, 35 percent of clinicians and nurses report being injured at least once on the job while 24 percent had to modify activity or movement during at least one shift.

Though less common, patient injuries also occur – 10 percent say at least one of their patients has been injured. To maintain their health and safety on the job, most clinicians and nurses rely on help from colleagues (74 percent) or choose to stay fit (65 percent).

While half feel their work environment is supportive in preventing discomfort, injury or pain, the most desired change clinicians and nurses want out of their work environment centers around updating equipment and furniture (25 percent) followed by rearranging the physical space to be better aligned with patient needs (23 percent).

“Given clinicians and nurses have so much direct contact with patients, their roles are becoming ever more important to the healthcare environment and patient satisfaction,” said Alan Rheault, director, Industrial Design, Nurture.

“Yet we find that clinicians and nurses still experience a high rate of injuries on the job despite working in supportive environments – which then begs the question: what does the healthcare industry need to do to ensure caregivers’ work environments pose lower risk and encourage greater well-being for everyone?”

Rosalyn Cama, chair of the Board of Directors for The Center of Health Design and president and principal interior designer of CAMA, put forward one solution: “Workplace health and safety risks are present in all business sectors; in healthcare, however, patient handling rises to the top of the list,” she said.

“Observing why and where these unsafe behaviors occur, identifying and researching the potential risks associated with these behaviors, imagining solutions that modify risky behavior and designing better tools to aid in their proper execution is what we, the evidence-based healthcare design community, expect from our industry partners. The resources in our kit-of-parts have to keep pace with our rapidly growing need to design safer environments in which to deliver care.”


Nurture, moving patients, workplace injuries, Steelcase