According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2014, nursing and residential care facilities had the highest incidence rate of total nonfatal occupational injury cases in the U.S. Manual patient handling tasks result in high lumbar load (Jager et al., 2013), and most of work-related back disorders in nurses are related to patient transfers. The present pilot study seeks to determine if there are significant differences in the motion of experienced nurses and novice nurses while performing the same patient repositioning tasks. A motion capture experiment was conducted in a laboratory setting on 14 female nurses performing two patient repositioning tasks (moving patient toward the head of the bed; transferring patient from bed to a wheelchair). Of the nurses selected, 7 were experienced nurses (greater than 5 years of nursing experience), and 7 were novice nurses (between 0 and 2 years of nursing experience). The motion capture data were post processed using Cortex and Visual3D software. Average and maximum joint angles for the spine, knees, elbows, and shoulders for each task were compared between the novice and experienced nurses using a Wilcoxon Rank Sum test to determine whether there were significant differences in motion for the same patient repositioning tasks. Although significant differences were not found for average or maximum joint angles between the novice and experienced groups, there was a significant difference in variances between the novice and experienced groups for some angles for the wheelchair task.

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