Proper Body Mechanics And The CNA

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Of all professions, nurses have the highest risk of back injury due to the nature of the job.  With this in mind, consider that back injuries account for roughly 1.7 billion in medical care and lost days, annually.  More importantly than money though, you should be concerned for your safety and health.

A back injury can put you out of work, disable you from doing the things you once loved, and you can find yourself in financial difficulty.  Don’t let this be all doom and gloom though, follow the following tips and you can prevent Proper Body Mechanicsback injuries and still perform well in your nursing or CNA job.

While you’re nursing assistant training should thoroughly educate you on the proper way to move patients and lift heavy items, do not forget your common sense (and your CNA Training) in proper body mechanics…

  • Be sure to properly assess the situation before you begin to attempt to transfer or lift a patient.
  • Do not attempt to lift a patient by yourself, remember that you are not paid to do so.
  • In addition to getting help from one of your team members, it’s always good to use a gait belt or draw sheet.
  • Remember that you should not allow your spine to “carry weight”, so keeping a natural arch, and using your legs will prevent injury.
  • Never twist or pivot your body unnaturally.  It helps to ask oneself, does my body comfortably move like this or am I straining myself to do this?
  • Aligning your body as close to the bed or patient will significantly increase your lifting power.  You dramatically lose strength when the item you are lifting is far away from your body.
  • Be extra careful if you are fatigued.  You tend to be less careful and less focused when you are tired mentally or physically.


In the event that you incur an injury follow the safety protocol established by your employer and the guidelines that your CNA training program taught you.  You should immediately report the injury and seek medical attention (both of these should be done for ANY job).  You should be actively seeking to protect both yourself and people around you.  If you see any situation that is potentially dangerous, you should immediately report it.  Also, consider the knowledge that you have learned in proper body mechanics and be mindful to your co-workers whether they are new or old.

If you see them attempting to lift something in a way that can cause injury, help educate them for their own safety.  Around 11 percent of nurses end up leaving their career early because of injury sustained from heavy lifting and improper ergonomics.

By proper training or more awareness we can help bring this number down and keep our highly needed nurses in good health.  Your place of employment is basically your second home.  Remember to use proper body mechanics and ergonomics in all your “homes” for a long healthy future!  Even if only half the injuries can be prevented, that would mean thousands of people unharmed.

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