Workload, general perceived stress, body function, musculoskeletal pain, and their mutual relationships in nurses – a pilot study
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University of Physical Education, Kraków, Poland (Section of Rehabilitation in Orthopaedics, Department of Clinical Rehabilitation, Faculty of Motor Rehabilitation)
5th Military Hospital with Polyclinic, Kraków, Poland
Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Bergen, Norway (Department of Health and Function, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences)
Online publication date: 2024-06-14
Corresponding author
Agata Masłoń   

University of Physical Education, Section of Rehabilitation in Orthopaedics, Department of Clinical Rehabilitation, Faculty of Motor Rehabilitation, al. Jana Pawła II 78, 31-571 Kraków, Poland
Objectives: Both physical and psychosocial risk factors contributing to musculoskeletal disorders occur in the professional nursing group, and previous literature suggested that their interaction may increase the risk of musculoskeletal pain among nurses. The aim of the study was to examine perceived workload and stress as well as physical findings and musculoskeletal complaints in nurses. Material and Methods: The participants consisted of 42 female nurses, age range 23–60 years. They marked on a pain drawing the site/sites that was/were painful at the moment of testing, its duration and intensity. Thereafter they were examined using the movement and respiration domains from the Global Physiotherapy Examination (GPE). Furthermore, a subjective workload measure was made using the paper version of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Task Load Index and stress was assessed using the Perceived Stress Questionnaire. Results: Almost the entire study group declared that pain experienced in at least 1 location was chronic, i.e., had lasted ≥1 year (97%). The most frequent locations of pain were low back (22.4%) and cervical/head (21.6%) regions. In the GPE, most scores indicated restricted and reduced movement, with the subdomain flexibility having the highest deviation from the predefined standard. Furthermore, the results indicated hampered respiration, especially visible in standing position. Out of all workload scores, the highest was obtained for temporal demand. Perceived stress level was found to be moderate and significantly associated to chronic chest/ thoracic pain. Interestingly, the compression of thorax test positively correlated with mental (r = 0.42, p < 0.05) and physical demand (r = 0.35, p < 0.05), whereas the elbow drop test and temporal demand correlated negatively (r = –0.37, p < 0.05). Conclusions: To sum up, the majority of nurses participating in this study had long-lasting pain and limited flexibility of the body and hampered respiration, which both may enhance intensity of experienced musculoskeletal pain. Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2024;37(3)
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