Perceptions on work related musculoskeletal disorders among nursing students, interns and key informations in tertiary hospital of Karachi : a qualitative descriptive study

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Policy & Management (MSc Health Policy & Mgmt)


Community Health Sciences


Nursing students and novice nurses who just start their professional nursing career are more vulnerable to work-related musculoskeletal disorders. This is because, they have not developed full clinical competency and are inexperienced in their learning period (I). A study conducted among undergraduate nursing students regarding prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders at work found that musculoskeletal symptoms includes body region around neck 74.5%, shoulders 64.7%, lower back 68.6%, these symptoms affected students to adequately perform their daily activities (2). One third of Pakistani nurses reports lower backache. Most contributing factors involves improper body mechanics and working with the same posture for prolonged time (3). The problem of work-related musculoskeletal disorders cannot be ignored as it is an important factor for decrease in productivity and loss of skilled health worker. Thus, there is need to understand work-related musculoskeletal disorders from the perspective of nursing students, interns and nursing experts to identify factors, impacts, current practices and actions for preventing it in healthcare setting. Study objectives: Study aimed to identify perceptions of nursing students and interns on work-related musculoskeletal disorders in a tertiary care hospital in Karachi. In addition, to identify the preventive measures for the control of work-related musculoskeletal disorders among nursing population in a tertiary care hospital of Karachi. Methodology: Qualitative descriptive design was used including focus group discussions and key informants in one private tertiary hospital in Karachi, Pakistan. Using purposive sampling, interviews were conducted with nursing students, interns and nursing experts by using questionnaire. The FDGs conducted with nursing students of year 3 and 4 and interns of AKUH. Whereas, KlIs were conducted with nurse specialist, head nurse, nursing faculty and nurse instructor of AKUH. Transcripts of interviews were developed. Furthermore, manual data analysis was carried out.Results: Nursing students and interns have basic knowledge about work-related musculoskeletal disorders and ergonomics principles. Core factors reported for workrelated musculoskeletal disorders were work demand, personal factors and knowledge gaps on use of ergonomics principles. Personal and professional impacts of work-related musculoskeletal disorders were highlighted which are disabilities, job loss and loss of skilled health worker. Although, there is minimal application of appropriate body mechanics, use of correct body posture and use of assisted devices in clinical practices. There is need for in-depth ergonomics training at academic and intuitional level. Challenges to practice ergonomics were non-compliance to use of ergonomics, lack of refresher courses to promote safety practices and minimal academic teaching in nursing education. Study has also suggested the strategies for preventing these disorders are nursing curriculum modification; institutional training on ergonomics and most importantly sustainability of these interventions. Conclusion: The participants were familiar about the basics of ergonomics but still there is need for more in-depth knowledge and awareness programs. Many barriers to incorporate ergonomics were highlighted by the study which needs special attention. Hence, to increase productivity and improve physical health numerous practical prevention strategies are required to combat this problem.

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