Manual Handling: a Reflection

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Three years and a few months ago, I can still recall the memories of being a nursing student, I was studying in a university wherein our professor taught us a lot of things in the field of the health care profession. One of the lessons they taught to us is about Manual Handling. When the topic was introduced to us, the first thing that came to my mind is that manual handling is all about how to lift or transfer a patient from one place to another (for example: bed to chair). But then, when my clinical instructor started the lecture, I’ve come to realized that manual handling does not only mean carrying, lifting, or transferring a patient from place to place. It also involves carrying, lifting or transferring loads. Loads are grouped into two: inanimate and animate. Inanimate objects include patient’s cabinet, books or boxes. Animate objects are the patients.

But the first priority for manual handling is safety- safety for both patients and for the health care provider as well. Since manual handling involves the use of the human body, it may include a high risk for injury because sometimes it may involve heavy labor such as lifting, pushing, pulling and pivoting. These activities may pose the risk of injury to the back of the shoulders and upper limbs. To prevent these injuries, certain manual handling techniques were taught to us. One principle that is very basic is to bend on your knees and not on your back. In lifting things, you should place the load close to the body, use diagonal foot position or foot apart and move loads at waist height than directly to the floor.In pushing or pulling, it is important to use both the arms and the legs to provide the leverage to start the position .When moving continuously, handlers are safer when pivoting their shoulders, hips and feet with the load in front at all times rather than twisting their back as these may cause back pains since the lower back is not designed for repetitive twisting.

When I was...
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