Effectiveness of an ergonomics intervention program for reducing work-related musculoskeletal disorders for community nurses in Hong Kong

Chun Lung So, E.W.C. Lee, S.W. Law, G.P.Y. Szeto

Research output: Unpublished conference presentation (presented paper, abstract, poster)Conference presentation (not published in journal/proceeding/book)Academic researchpeer-review


Background. Community nurses are at risk as they must carry a heavy backpack and travel to work onsite with patients in their homes. This work often involves awkward postures and exposes community nurses to high physical demands and the risk of musculoskeletal disorders. The objective of this study was to determine the effectiveness of an ergonomic intervention program aimed at reducing work-related musculoskeletal symptoms of community nurses in Hong Kong. Methods. 50 community nurses working in four local hospitals participated in the study. The full intervention program consisted of participatory group ergonomic training, individual onsite ergonomic supervision, a daily exercise program, equipment modification, computer workstation assessment and typing training. The intervention program lasted for about three months and nurses were evaluated at pre-intervention (T1), postintervention (T2) and post-intervention at one year (T3).The outcome variables included musculoskeletal symptom scores, functional outcome measures (NPQ, CODI DASH and IKDC), rate of perceived exertion (RPE), perceived physical and psychosocial risk factors of work, flexibility and grip-strength measures. Results. Comparing the pre- (T1) and post-intervention data (T2), musculoskeletal symptom scores were significantly reduced in major body regions such as neck, back and shoulders (p<0.001). Four outcome measures were also significantly improved (neck: -44.32%, t=3.82, p=0.000; low back: -33.89%, t=2.57, p=0.013; upper limb:-46.61%, t=2.66, p=0.011; knee: -7.58%, t=-3.01, p=0.004). Physical and psychosocial risk factors as well as RPE also reported significant declines after the intervention program. Comparing the postintervention (T2) and one-year follow-up (T3) data, the four functional outcomes and both perceived physical and psychosocial risk factors showed no significant differences. Many of these variables maintained the significant difference comparing pre-intervention (T1) to one-year follow-up (T3). Discussion. The intervention program was effective in reducing the musculoskeletal symptoms of community nurses, and the results support the positive benefits, both short- and long-term, of the ergonomic intervention program for community nurses.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2016
Event9th International Scientific Conference on the Prevention of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders - Allstream Centre, Toronto, Canada
Duration: 20 Jun 201623 Jun 2016


Conference9th International Scientific Conference on the Prevention of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders
Abbreviated titlePREMUS2016
Internet address


  • Ergonomics Intervention
  • Work-related musculoskeletal disorders
  • Cummunity Nurse

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