Ergonomics in Healthcare: A Continuing Education Program for Nurses, Nursing Assistants and Healthcare Managers

September 2018

Musculoskeletal injuries are one of the most common occupational hazards for nurses. This free program consists of six self-paced learning modules. Participants will learn to identify and reduce ergonomic hazards associated with patient handling and non-patient handling tasks. They will learn the essential components of a multi-component safe patient handling and mobility program and how to make the business case in their organization.

This program meets the requirements of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing at 244 CMR 5.00 for 5 contact hours.

Visit the Resources webpage for additional program materials and web links.

View the Frequently Asked Questions webpage for important information about the requirements for receiving a Certificate of Completion and viewing the program modules.

Read what participants are saying:

“ A well constructed course that is easy to understand. What a great refresher on safety, and reminder of the challenges a health care worker and healthcare organizations encounter daily.” 

- H.G., Registered Nurse

“ I found this program thorough and full of evidence based principles that can be successfully followed. The program can easily be used as a guide for any SPHM program." 

- R.P., Director of Rehabilitation


Program Introduction: Ergonomics in Healthcare [9:29]

The Introduction module introduces the purpose and content of the Ergonomics in Healthcare program. The module provides an overview of each of the five modules and discusses the program's objectives.

Module 1: Musculoskeletal Injuries in Nursing: Who is at Risk and Why? [15:27]

Module 1 provides an overview of the scope of the problem and an introduction to ergonomics and its relevance to healthcare. The module describes types of musculoskeletal disorders, costs of nursing injuries, mechanisms by which back injuries occur, and discusses the maximum weight limit for use in patient handling tasks.

Module 2: The Identification of Ergonomic Risk Factors in the Healthcare Work Environment [19:18]

Module 2 describes workplace risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders and identifies high risk healthcare tasks that pose ergonomic hazards. The module explains key ergonomic risk factors involved in patient handling tasks and non-patient handling tasks, and allows you to identify ergonomic exposures in your own workplace by conducting an Ergonomic Job Analyses (EJA).

Module 3: The Application of Ergonomic Principles in Patient Handling and Other Nursing Tasks [14:59]

Module 3 introduces the hierarchy of controls (engineering controls, administrative and work practice controls, and personal protective equipment) and the ten Principles of Ergonomics in healthcare. The module discusses how to apply these ergonomic principles in patient handling and non-patient handling cases.

Module 4: The Essential Elements of a Multicomponent Safe Patient Handling and Mobility Program (SPHM) [26:56]

Module 4 introduces the three categories of strategies (leadership/management, equipment/engineering/environmental, and healthcare worker) to improve patient safety and healthcare worker safety, and describes the eight American Nurses Association National Standards for Safe Patient Handling and Mobility. The module also outlines all the necessary elements needed to implement a SPHM program into your workplace, and busts the myths about a SPHM program.

Module 5: Making the Case for an Effective Safe Patient Handling and Mobility Program in Your Facility [28:12]

Module 5 describes the benefits, effectiveness, and cost-savings of a SPHM program, and introduces facilitators and barriers to a SPHM program. The module explains how to introduce management strategies to support and sustain a SPHM program and nursing strategies to facilitate a SPHM prgram. Further, it introduces successful SPHM cases in two different healthcare settings.

At the completion of Module 5, you will be prompted to complete a program evaluation survey, which is required in order to earn continuing education credits. The evaluation is brief, consisting of 12 questions.


Questions about the program should be directed by email to: