Learning safe patient handling skills: Student nurse experiences of university and practice based education

Rosaleen Kneafsey, C Haigh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)


INTRODUCTION: Poor patient handling practices increase nurse injuries and reduce patients' safety and comfort. BACKGROUND: UK Universities have a duty to prepare student nurses for patient handling activities occurring during clinical placements. This study examines students' experiences of moving and handling education in academic and clinical settings. METHODS: A 34 item questionnaire was distributed to student nurses at one School of Nursing (n=432, response rate of 75%). RESULTS: Many students undertook unsafe patient handling practices and provided reasons for this. There was a medium statistically significant correlation between the variables 'provision of supervision' and 'awareness of patient handling needs' (r(s)=.390, p=.000). 40% of students stated that their M&H competency was assessed through direct observation. Twenty six percent of the total sample (n=110), said they had begun to develop musculo-skeletal pain since becoming a student nurse. Forty-eight stated that this was caused by an incident whilst on placement. DISCUSSION: Inadequate patient handling practices threaten student nurse safety in clinical settings. Although some students may be overly confident, they should be supervised when undertaking M&H activities. CONCLUSIONS: Though important, University based M&H education will only be beneficial if students learn in clinical settings that take safe patient handling seriously.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)832-839
Number of pages8
JournalNurse Education Today
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2007


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