Journal Article: Developing a simulation tool to quantify biomechanical load and quality of care in nursing

Nursing is a high musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) risk job with high workload demands. This study combines Digital Human Modelling (DHM) and Discrete Event Simulation (DES) to address the need for tools to better manage MSD risk. This novel approach quantifies physical-workload, work-performance, and quality-of-care, in response to varying geographical patient-bed assignments, patient-acuity levels, and nurse-patient ratios. Lumbar loads for 86 care-delivery tasks in an acute care hospital unit were used as inputs in a DES model of the care-delivery process, creating a shift-long time trace of the biomechanical load. Peak L4/L5 compression and moment were 3574 N and 111.58 Nm, respectively. This study reports trade-offs in all three experiments: (i) increasing geographical patient-bed assignment distance decreased L4/L5 compression (8.8%); (ii) increased patient-acuity decreased L4/L5 moment (4%); (iii) Increased nurse-patient ratio decreased L4/L5 compression (10%) and moment (17%). However, in all experiments, Quality of care indicators deteriorated (20, 19, and 29%, respectively).


Sadeem Munawar Qureshi, Nancy Purdy, Michael A. Greig, Helen Kelly, Anne vanDeursen & W. Patrick Neumann (2023) Developing a simulation tool to quantify biomechanical load and quality of care in nursing, Ergonomics, 66:7, 886-903, DOI: 10.1080/00140139.2022.2113921

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