Student Theses, Dissertations and Capstones

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

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College of Nursing

First Advisor

Marcia Derby-Davis

Publication Date / Copyright Date



Nova Southeastern University


Background: Healthcare workers are ranked among one of the top occupations for musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) injuries that affect the muscles, the bones, the nervous system and due to repetitive motion tasks (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017). Numerous high-risk patient handling tasks such as lifting, transferring, ambulating and repositioning of patients cause injuries that can be prevented when evidence-based solutions are used for safe patient handling and mobility (SPHM) tasks.

Purpose: The purpose of this quality improvement project was to evaluate the knowledge and attitudes of orthopedic nurses regarding the use of SPHM algorithms as the standard of care when transferring patients.

Theoretical Framework. Lewin’s Theory of Change

Methods. A quasi-experimental pretest-post-test design was utilized in this evidenced-based practice project. Results. Descriptive statistics that evaluated pre and post questionnaires of the orthopedic nurses noted nurses displayed behavioral and attitudinal intent to use the SPHM algorithms as the standard of care to improve patient outcomes by decreasing falls. Although the behavioral beliefs and attitudes reflected acknowledgement of SPHM skills and knowledge, nursing did not improve in their documentation of SPH fall risk as two separate tools were required on each patient.

Conclusions: SPHM evidenced-based standards do guide staff to critically examine how to safely transfer and mobilize a patient. Patient fall rates did decrease during educational sessions, prompting the need for on-going education of all staff on the unit that transfers patients. The findings from this quality project may encourage future practice approaches to use of the safe patient handling (SPH) fall risk assessment tool for all patients to prevent patient falls.




safe patient handling, patient falls, fall risk assessment tools



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