Back pain among nurses is a common problem. Prior studies of this problem have been based on cross-sectional or retrospective data. This 18-month prospective study involving nurses newly graduated from nursing school investigated personal, worksite, and training factors associated with future risk of back pain. Each nurse underwent a preliminary interview and periodic follow-ups to identify those with back injuries. Contingency tables and logistic regression analyses demonstrated that prior significant back pain episodes (evidenced by previous job changes because of back pain, frequent medication use, etc.) were associated with increased future risk. Training at nursing school or on the job did not have a protective effect. This pilot study therefore suggests factors useful in placement and counseling of new nurses and indicates the need for further implementation of mechanical lift assist device use.