Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Nursing (MAN)



First Advisor

Kaija Freborg


Nurses suffer musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) at a higher rate than other industries due to the heavy loads nurses lift when handling patients. As a result of high injury rates, many hospitals have introduced Safe Patient Handling and Mobility (SPHM) Prograrns, but program success varies. Many nurses continue to practice outdated manual handling techniques rather than use the available SPHM equipment. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Medical Center where this author works has a comprehensive SPHM program that includes a team of SPHM Unit Peer Leaders (UPLs). UPLs are experts in safe patient handling and provide training and education on the unit level. Unfortunately, since the role of the UPL is a collateral duty, they must perform these tasks in addition to caring for a full patient assignment. This Medical Center continues to have a high number of injuries, and this author hypothesized that if the UPL had dedicated time to provide SPHM expertise through transpersonal caring moments, the nursing culture and patient handling behaviors would align with the SPHM program and policy. Dr. Jean Watson's Theory of Human Caring is the framework for the Caring Moments Model that incorporates the concepts of intentionality, presence, relationship, and caring into the role of the UPL. The Caring Moments Model aims to determine if a UPL, who is armed with the knowledge of caring and the cultures of nurses and the Veterans, can transform the culture of nursing and patient handling at the bedside.


SC 11.MAN.2016.Gardner.ST