Certified nursing assistants who work in long-term care are put in severe postures for their shoulders and elbows at night, and for their neck during the day, according to a new study.

The investigation asked 54 female nursing aides in Ohio at five different nursing homes about their postural demands, including time spent sitting, standing and walking, as well as their body discomfort. 

Nursing aides on a 12-hour day shift had more current hip pain, while eight-hour night shift workers had more knee pain and lost days due to ankle/foot pain. 

Those who were working an eight-hour shift reported more hourly energy expenditure per hour than those on a 12-hour shift.

These physical demands can drive up musculoskeletal disorders and cause absenteeism. However, the study notes the relationship between a supervisor and coworkers may impact whether a CNA develops a musculoskeletal disorder, as well as the turnover rate. 

“Physical and Psychosocial Demands on Shift Work in Nursing Homes” is the title of the thesis by University of Cincinnati doctoral student Chunhui He. It can be found through OhioLINK, the state’s academic library consortium.