Back injury prevention program on a spinal cord injury unit

SCI Nurs. 1991 Jun;8(2):48-51.


A back injury prevention program was developed for the Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) nursing staff at the San Diego Veterans Affairs Medical Center (SDVAMC). This preventive program has the following components: 1. All nursing staff are sent to a one hour "back school" in order to learn and practice proper body mechanics. This program is held in the therapy clinic and conducted by a kinesiotherapist. In addition, each nurse must be certified in transfer techniques by our clinical nurse specialist, before performing transfers on patients. 2. All nursing staff participate in 5-10 minutes of stretching, warm-up exercises at the beginning of their shift. These exercises are helpful as injuries are less likely to occur when muscles have been warmed up prior to lifting and moving patients. 3. All nursing staff wear a lumbar sacral back support while on duty. This device will offer physical support to the lower back as well as provide a mental reminder to use proper body mechanics when transferring patients. This back injury prevention program has been in effect since the opening of the SCI unit in March 1989. The rate of low-back injuries on the SCI unit from October 1989 to September 1990 was compared to the rate of low-back injuries on the other hospital units. As a result of this program, there were only four low-back injuries with six lost work days on the SCI unit. This rate compares favorably with the incidence of low-back injuries in other patient care areas.

MeSH terms

  • Back Pain / etiology
  • Back Pain / prevention & control*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Exercise
  • Hospital Units
  • Humans
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / education*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / nursing