Stress and Prevalence of Musculoskeletal Disorders Among the Nursing Personnel of a Tertiary Hospital Unit in Greece: A Cross-Sectional Study

Curr Health Sci J. 2023 Jan-Mar;49(1):45-53. doi: 10.12865/CHSJ.49.01.45. Epub 2023 Mar 31.


Background: Work-related musculoskeletal injuries and disorders (WMSD) are a significant cause of morbidity in the health care sector. Healthcare professionals are routinely exposed to various physical and psychosocial factors that increase the risk of developing a WMSD. Nurses are more susceptible to the manifestation of such disorders.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted during the second semester of 2020. The Nordic Questionnaire (NMQ) was used to investigate the prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms, the Short Anxiety Screening Test (SAST) for stress detection, and a data collection sheet was developed for the registration of clinical, demographic, and anthropometric characteristics of the nursing personnel of the tertiary hospital unit of Heraklion, Crete, Greece.

Results: A percentage of 82% of nurses had developed at least one musculoskeletal symptom in the last 12 months. The most common anatomical areas at which symptoms were present the last 12 months were the neck (53.9%), shoulders (50.8%), and the lower back (49.5%). The same areas were also the reported anatomical regions, most affected by musculoskeletal symptoms when stress levels were high. Absence from work was associated with the onset of musculoskeletal symptoms (p<0.001), while nurses' financial expenses (out-of-pocket payment) appeared to be associated with the onset of any symptom at 12 months, musculoskeletal symptoms limiting everyday activity at 12 months, and current musculoskeletal symptoms (p=0.001, p=0.002, and p=0.002 respectively).

Conclusions: Musculoskeletal disorders were common among the nursing personnel. Higher levels of stress were related with a higher prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms.

Keywords: Musculoskeletal disorders; nurses; occupational health; stress.