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Midwives’ thoughts about musculoskeletal disorders with an evaluation of working tasks
journal contributionposted on 26.08.2020, 10:15 by Kubra Okuyucu, Sue Hignett, Diane Gyi, Angie Doshani
The prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders is very high among midwives resulting in sickness absenteeism, functional limitation and staff shortages. There are several contributory risk factors having impact on the development of MSDs. This study aimed to (1) explore midwives' experiences and views about work-related MSDs and contributing risk factors, and (2) analyse working postures for musculoskeletal injury risks. A mixed method approach was used with interviews/focus group (n=15/7) and observations (n=22) of specific tasks (during birth and after birth) using the posture analysis observational method (Rapid Entire Body Assessment, REBA). The participants were midwives who had an active role in the United Kingdom (UK) National Health Services (NHS). It was found that MSDs were often attributed to the physical (working in awkward positions), organisational (longer shift hours, fewer staff, increased work load), psychosocial (defensive practice, higher demand) challenges of midwifery. All postures had very high to medium REBA risk levels with action categories indicating that action or further assessment is definitely necessary to reduce MSDs. This research provides a holistic approach by analysing risk factors and interactions in the work context to inform the development of risk management strategies. Midwifery working conditions have a big impact on developing musculoskeletal symptoms. Management of such symptoms will improve staff wellbeing, mother and baby safety, individuals' life trajectories and staff shortages.
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