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The Incidence of Upper Extremity Injuries in Endoscopy Nurses Working in the United States

Drysdale, Susan A. BA, RN, CGRN, CGN(C)

doi: 10.1097/SGA.0b013e3182a6e05d

Numerous studies have addressed musculoskeletal disorders in the international working population. The literature indicates that injuries exist at astounding rates with significant economic impact. Attempts have been made by government, private industry, and special interest groups to address the issues related to the occurrence and prevention of musculoskeletal injuries. Because of the limited research on the gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy nursing sector, this descriptive, correlational study explored the incidence of upper extremity injuries in GI endoscopy nurses and technicians in the United States. A total of 215 subjects were included in the study. Findings show that upper extremity injuries exist among nurses working in GI endoscopy. Twenty-two percent of respondents missed work for upper extremity injuries. The findings also show that the severity of disability is related to the type of work done, type of assistive aids available at work, and whether or not ergonomic or physiotherapy assessments were provided at the place of employment. In reference to rate of injury and the availability of ergonomics and physiotherapy assessments, those who had ergonomic assessments available to them had scores on the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (DASH) inventory (indicating upper extremity disability) that were significantly lower (DASH score, 9.96) than those who did not have the assessments available (DASH score, 14.66). The results suggest that there are a significant number of subjects who are disabled to varying degrees and the majority of these are employed in full-time jobs.

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About the author: Susan A. Drysdale, BA, RN, CGRN, CGN(C), is Medical Adjudicator, Service Canada, Western Canada and Territories Region, Edmonton, Alberta.

Correspondence to: Susan A. Drysdale, BA, RN, CGRN, CGN(C), Service Canada, Western Canada and Territories Region, 63 Claremont Ave., Winnipeg, Manatoba, Canada R2H 1V7 ( or

This research was performed by the principal investigator independent from her professional role as a Medical Adjudicator for Service Canada and as such it was not endorsed or supported by the employer. The findings in no way represent the views of Service Canada.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (

The author declares no conflict of interest.

Received April 16, 2011

Accepted September 05, 2011

© 2013 by the Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates, Inc.