In a rare study on the health status of nurses, it has been found that an overwhelming majority suffer from musculoskeletal problems. An interview-based survey of 244 nurses from 21 nursing homes in the city and Thane revealed that 88.7% of them suffered from lower back pain of varying degree.
The study, which covered a BMC-run nursing home as well, showed how little thought was spared to ensure nurses do not sustain injuries while supporting or lifting a patient.
"While lifting a patient, they would often stand in non-linear positions, which invariably caused overloading of the spine," principal investigator and ergonomist Roopa Rao from Nirmala Niketan College of Home Science said. "Barring two nursing homes in Thane, none of the rest had patient lifting devices. Even for the two nursing homes, the devices were kept in store rooms."
She said that at least 44% of them suffered from lower back pain thrice a week. Around 41% also said they suffered from pain in the right wrist.
Rao said during the course of study she found out how nurses had no resting time or space though their work schedules often exceeded nine hours.
"At least 9% said that empty beds became their pantries, while another 17% said they rested on the passage-ways," she said.
Despite the health risks and other challenges, most continue in the profession as they need the money.
"The main motivators for them are the salary and benefits to support their homes," Rao said. "The nurses, however, have limited access to claims and compensation for occupational hazards."