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90 per cent nurses in India face musculoskeletal pain: Godrej Interio study

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Caregivers face tremendous work-related stress, burnout due to workload, long working hours due to acute shortage of trained workforce

On the occasion of World Health Day (April 7), Godrej Interio, released an independent study: ‘Elevating Experiences, Enriching Lives’.The World Health Organisation has chosen this year to celebrate the work of nurses and midwives, and remind the world of the critical role they play in keeping the society healthy. In line with the theme, the study by Godrej Interio discusses prevalent challenges faced by the nursing forces while delivering healthcare services in the country. 

Caregivers face tremendous work-related stress, burnout due to workload, and long working hours due to the acute shortage of trained workforce. The job also has significant physical demands like standing for long hours, performing tasks in awkward and sustained postures, and handling patients while transferring them. This poses a high risk of musculoskeletal disorders.

Nurses are on the front line every day, tending to the sick, counselling patients on their health, and working to improve processes throughout the healthcare system. Nursing care is not restricted to hospitals only. It encompasses home care nursing, industrial care nursing, community health nursing, military nursing, and other segments. However, with this expansion in the role, nurses in India are facing new challenges in their workplaces. To understand the challenges faced by nurses in detail, Godrej Interio’s research study analysed the current work environment and work pattern of the nurses in India. The study revealed that long working hours, overtime and work overload affects the physical and psychological well-being of the nurses. While more than 90 per cent of nurses have MSD (musculoskeletal disorder), 61 per cent also experienced neck pain sometimes. Most recurring pain area (51 per cent) is leg ache, followed by knee pain (51 per cent). Similarly, 51 per cent nurses complained of upper and lower back issues, 41 per cent reported to have taken leave(s) for 1-3 days whereas 7 per cent nurses have taken leaves for 4-6 days in a span of two months to manage the pain, indicating an evident productivity loss to the organisation. 

Anil Mathur, Chief Operating Officer, Godrej Interio, said, “Nurses form the single largest groups of health professionals. In all care-delivery settings, they have a critical role in improving care, advance health, and provide value. Nurses manage patients with intense care needs beyond hospitals and make them adapt to home or other settings. Nurses also work as health coaches, counsellors, and they handle many other roles to prevent illness and promote wellness. In response to a changed system and new responsibilities, the challenges faced by nurses must be addressed on priority. We at Godrej Interio focus on creating ergonomically designed healing environments with an emphasis on efficiency, empathy and well-being of all the healthcare teams, including nursing staff. An efficient nursing workforce will make healthcare delivery smoother, and the patients will feel safer and more secure.”

Even before the onset of the pandemic, India was suffering from a shortage of two million nurses (WHO, 2019). The nurse to patient ratio for India is only around 2.1 nurses per 1000 population. The Godrej Interio study also explored the strain on the workforce due to the acute shortage of caregivers in the country.

It revealed that 88 per cent of nurses work for 8-10 hours a day along with doing overtime at least twice or thrice a month. Similarly, 74 per cent of the nurses stand for more than 4-6 hours a day at a stretch, causing stress on their lower limbs. While 20 per cent of nurses reported performing double-shift duty at least twice a month, 26 per cent of nurses were requested to work on their off-days twice a month whereas 10 per cent of nurses were called on duty more than twice a month on their off-days. 

Godrej Interio offers multiple solutions for creating spaces which are safe, efficient and empathise with all stakeholders in healthcare space, namely patients and their relatives, doctors, nursing staff and hospital administrators.

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