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Al Harbi and Al Nomasi: Management of work-related musculoskeletal disorders among hospital nurses – competency-based study in Tabuk City, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Introduction: Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) cover any injury, damage or disorder of the components of the musculoskeletal system. Hospital nurses have one of the highest rates of MSDs among the various occupations. The great negative impact of this problem on the health care system and work quality of nurses justifies the urgent need for investigation and intervention.

Objectives: To develop a valid and reliable competency-based assessment tool that suits the proper management of MSDs among hospital nurses. The specific objectives were to assess the degree of knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding sound management of MSDs among hospital nurses.

Materials and methods: A cross-sectional analytical research design was chosen to investigate the current research problem. The simple random sampling technique was applied to select two hospitals (King Khalid University Hospital, Riyadh and King Fahad University Hospital, Khobar, Saudi Arabia). The subjects of the study were 118 hospital nurses recruited by a systematic random sampling technique. A self-administered competency questionnaire was used and covered 32 pertinent MSDs classified into knowledge (12), attitude (10) and practice (10) components. An equivalent simple scoring competency index was constructed and the scores ranged from 0 to 96. The questionnaire was tested for its validity and reliability, and was standardized by the nominal group technique. Data were analysed using IBM SPSS Statistics version 19 (IBM Corporation, Armonk, NY, USA).

Results: The mean age and average years of experience of the studied nurses were 31.48 ± 7.23 and 7.12 ± 5.83 years, respectively. The competency index varied from 32 to 72 with an average value of 46.88 ± 15.63 among the nurses studied.

Conclusions: Addressing key MSDs of nurses in the studied arena could substantially enhance the quality of nurses’ performance and patient care.

Acknowledgements: Dr Abd-Alla Al-Temani, Professor Ahmed Eltobgy and Dr Ibrahiem Mubarak for supervising this research project.

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