Document Type



There is consensus that registered nurses worldwide have a high prevalence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders, particularly of the back. Patient handling activities such as lifting present the highest risk of injury, activities that begin in nursing school. A literature review identified 21 studies of back pain in nursing students, indicating a wide range of prevalence rates. A prospective cohort study of nursing students in a United States baccalaureate program followed 119 students who completed the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire upon beginning the 16 month upper division major and then a year later. There was no statistically significant change in low back pain prevalence over time. While nursing students have intermittent and brief exposure to patient handling activities, nursing schools must nevertheless protect them before they enter the high risk profession of nursing by teaching evidence-based safe patient handling techniques, empowering students to refuse unsafe manual lifts, and ensuring that the clinical settings with which they affiliate have adequate mechanical equipment available.


Back pain; Musculoskeletal disorder; Nursing school; Safe patient handling; Student nurse



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1.651 Kb

Publisher Citation

Menzel, N., Feng, D., & Doolen, J. (2016). Low Back Pain in Student Nurses: Literature Review and Prospective Cohort Study. International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship, 13(1).

Previous Versions

Sep 27 2017

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