Survey: Work-related Injuries and Their Potential Impact on Quality Patient Care to be of Great Concern to Nursing Workforce

While U.S. healthcare continues its radical digital transformation, nurses continue to face legacy physical burdens that potentially impact the quality of patient care. A new independent survey commissioned by Ergotron, a Nortek company, highlights many of the day-to-day difficulties nurses face with medical equipment, clinical workflow, electronic health records (EHRs), physical strain or injury and how these factors impact the delivery of quality patient care.
Of note, 60 percent of nurses worry that their job is negatively impacting their overall health, and one in ten nurses were injured on the job in the past year.  Nurse injuries have been well documented, but what is often not addressed is how their injuries and physical discomfort directly affects patient care.  The findings show:

  • They are less friendly or engaging with their patients (22 percent)
  • They have to modify or limit their activity/movement on the job (22 percent)
  • They are distracted (17 percent)They needed more assistance from other staff (14 percent) 

The impact of clinical design and ergonomic principles on the nurse or caregiver are often overlooked, and the survey reveals a growing desire for supportive design and devices. When asked what they would change in their work environment to support the prevention of discomfort, pain or injury to themselves and fellow nurses, 54 percent said they would increase nursing staff to alleviate workloads, 28 percent would instate a dedicated ergonomics team to help ensure equipment is ergonomically supportive to the staff and 28 percent would re-design the physical space within patient rooms and on floors to better align with clinical workflow and patient needs. In addition, 25 percent would update the furniture at the nursing station, 24 percent would update medical equipment and furniture in the patient room, and 22 percent would implement more point-of-care solutions throughout the floor with sit-to-stand functionality.
“Our goal with this survey was to better understand nurses’ feelings and opinions about the state of nursing today and what they believe will help improve clinical patient care moving forward,” said Steve Reinecke, assistant vice president of Ergotron Healthcare. “There is significant opportunity for healthcare providers to challenge the layout of their hospital rooms, the types of technology being used to capture patient information and the ergonomic solutions nurses need in order to stay healthy and provide the best patient care possible.”   
The survey also explored charting habits, difficulties with common medical devices and opinions about the impact of the integration of EHRs on overall patient care and clinical workflow.  For more detail and analysis of the survey findings, the Ergotron Nursing Survey Report and an Infographic can be viewed at
The Ergotron Nursing survey was fielded by independent panel research firm GMI Research from March 21 to March 28, 2014. The responses were generated from a survey of 250 people who self-identified as full-time nurses. All respondents are age 18 or older and living in the continental United States. The margin of error for the survey is plus or minus 3.1 percent.
With more than 30 years of experience designing ergonomic solutions for computer users worldwide—and 20 years specifically in healthcare—Ergotron is uniquely qualified to help the entire facility enhance personal interaction, expand the reach of care and improve operational efficiency.
To see other concerns facing nurses, see Nursing Challenges and Changes Infographic.