Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Nursing (MAN)



First Advisor

Deborah Schuhmacher


Preventing back injuries and promoting health among nurses are crucial with the increased nursing shortage and the increased pressure that healthcare systems are under to provide high-quality patient care. Healthcare promotion aimed at nurses fosters and promotes nursing practice by creating a positive work environment, thereby decreasing work-related back injuries and improving the quality of patient care. Orthopedic nursing is a rewarding profession, but can be physically demanding and places nurses at risk for work-related back injuries. In a typical eight-hour shift, the cumulative weight lifted by a nurse is equivalent to 1.8 tons. Back injuries are extremely costly for not only the healthcare industry, but also for the nurse. It is estimated that 12% of nurses who leave the profession are due to a back injury. Back health education would create a healthy and safe work environment. The prevention of back injuries can help increase health care promotion and safety for nurses and patients. The development of an educational module for back health incorporates education for self-care and the proper use of safe patient handling equipment for nurses on an orthopedic unit at a large Midwestern medical center. Watson's Theory of Human Caring guided the development of the educational module for back health. Her theoretical concepts of care, health, and environment provide an understanding of the importance of health promotion behaviors for nurses and patients. Implications of this educational module would include expansion to other healthcare professionals, increase nursing competence in use of lift aids and provide a safe environment for nurses and patients.