Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Evidence-Based Practices for Safe Patient Handling and Movement

Nelson, Audrey PhD, RN, FAAN; Baptiste, Andrea S. MA (O.T), CIE


Efforts to reduce injuries associated with patient handling are often based on tradition and personal experience rather than scientific evidence. The purpose of this article is to summarize current evidence for interventions designed to reduce caregiver injuries, a significant problem for decades. Despite strong evidence, published over three decades, the most commonly used strategies have strong evidence that demonstrate they are ineffective. There is a growing body of evidence to support newer interventions that are effective or show promise in reducing musculoskeletal pain and injuries in care providers. The authors have organized potential solutions into three established ergonomic solution types: engineering based, administrative, and behavioral. For each intervention, the level of evidence to support its use is provided.

Audrey Nelson, PhD, RN, FAAN, Dr. Nelson has over 27 years of experience in nursing and currently serves as the Associate Chief of Nursing Service for Research at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa, Florida. She serves as the director of two research centers: HSR&D Research Award Enhancement Program in Patient Safety Outcomes and the Patient Safety Center of Inquiry. She is also the Associate Director of Clinical Research at the University of South Florida College of Nursing. Dr. Nelson is a national leader in patient and nurse safety, with a program of research on safe patient handling and movement. She was appointed by the United States Secretary of Labor to National Advisory Committee on Ergonomics (2002–present) and collaborates with the American Nurses Association to promote safe working environments for nurses. E-mail:

Andrea S. Baptiste, MA (O.T), CIE, is a Biomechanist/Ergonomist at the Patient Safety Center. She manages the Biomechanics Laboratory and is a graduate of NYU Masters Program in Ergonomics and Orthopaedic Biomechanics. Andrea is a certified industrial ergonomist and a member of Human Factors Ergonomics Society. E-mail:

Editor's Note: This article is being reprinted with permission from The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, September 2004, 9(3). Available:

© 2006 National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses