Majority of hospitals in Europe and the United States have adopted a "No Manual Lifting" policy after studies on injury prevention showed that tasks such as lifting and transferring patients account for a large percentage of work-related injuries among nurses.
- Observe proper body mechanics. Sure, we learned this in nursing school but it won’t hurt to review on the topic again so you’ll remember to maintain a wide base of support and maintain proper body alignment.
- Use proper equipment. Use a draw sheet when moving patients up in bed or a slide board when transferring the patient from the bed to another flat surface. The use of assistive devices such as rails, gait belts and walkers when transferring patients will greatly reduce the risk of back injury.
- Organize a lift team. Always ask for help when transferring patients. When moving or repositioning patients, the rule of thumb is never lift more than you can.
- Strengthen your back. Activities as simple as walking, swimming, and running will help you greatly in strengthening your back and keeping you in shape. If you are overweight, consider losing the extra pounds because the excess weight puts additional strain on your spine and will make back pain even worse.