Reflective accounts

Reflective account – moving and handling

A CPD article improved Geisla Patrick’s knowledge of manual handling risk assessment.
Nurse assisting older patient

A CPD article improved Geisla Patricks knowledge of manual handling risk assessment.

What was the nature of the CPD activity and/or practice-related feedback and/or event or experience in your practice? The CPD article discussed the use of a structured approach to manual handling risk assessment, which would simplify the process and reduce the risk of injury when undertaking handling tasks.

What did you learn from the CPD activity and/or feedback and/or event or experience in your practice? The article provided information about the large number of healthcare staff injured undertaking manual handling activities. This can result in loss of working days and may lead to staff shortages, which affect patient care. These injuries can cause long-term difficulties for nurses, affecting areas such as their quality of life and social activities.

I have learned that it may be beneficial to

...

A CPD article improved Geisla Patrick’s knowledge of manual handling risk assessment.

What was the nature of the CPD activity and/or practice-related feedback and/or event or experience in your practice?
The CPD article discussed the use of a structured approach to manual handling risk assessment, which would simplify the process and reduce the risk of injury when undertaking handling tasks.


Photo: Alamy

What did you learn from the CPD activity and/or feedback and/or event or experience in your practice?
The article provided information about the large number of healthcare staff injured undertaking manual handling activities. This can result in loss of working days and may lead to staff shortages, which affect patient care. These injuries can cause long-term difficulties for nurses, affecting areas such as their quality of life and social activities.

I have learned that it may be beneficial to use a structured risk assessment when carrying out manual handling tasks, and this would improve safety and patient care. The article outlined an approach to risk assessment that involves five stages: identifying hazards and risks; identifying who might be harmed; implementing controls; documenting the findings; and reviewing the risk assessment at appropriate intervals. The article emphasised that manual handling is an evolving process and each time an object is moved the five-stage approach should be used.

From reading the article, I have learned about the biomechanics of movement, and how force, gravity, friction and levers can each affect how a load moves. The article stated that appropriate training in manual handling is essential for preventing injury to healthcare staff. For example, nurses should be aware of the correct position to start a lift. The article stated that a combination of training, exercise, changes in policy and provision of appropriate equipment are required to reduce risk in manual handling.

How did you change or improve your practice as a result?
In healthcare settings, a range of manual handling tasks are undertaken by staff daily, and handling injuries are common to nurses. I have observed significant improvements in manual handling over the past 30 years. The techniques used for handling patients have changed, as have the ways nurses protect themselves from injury. Handling equipment for transferring patients has become commonplace; however, in my experience non-patient handling is often not considered with the same care. I intend to encourage my colleagues to use the risk assessment process when handling objects such as laundry bags or trollies to reduce injury.

Although I regularly handle equipment and patients, I often feel that risk assessments for manual handling activities are rushed and sometimes my safety is not considered. I will review my practice in future and intend to incorporate the manual handling risk assessment earlier in patient care. I also plan to update current documentation to incorporate the five-stage approach.

How is this relevant to the Code? Select one or more themes: Prioritise people, Practise effectively, Preserve safety, Promote professionalism and trust
One theme of the Code is to prioritise people; it states that nurses must deliver the fundamentals of care effectively, including physical handling activities. Nurses must keep their knowledge of manual handling up to date and complete appropriate training in safe and effective techniques.

It is also important to preserve the safety of patients and the public. This involves identifying and reducing risks in the healthcare environment and raising concerns if the safety of a patient or staff member is not protected.

Geisla Patrick is a stroke thrombolysis nurse at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust


This reflective account is based on NS846 Warren G (2016) Moving and handling: reducing risk through assessment. Nursing Standard. 30, 40, 49-57. The questions are the same as those on the NMC templates that UK nurses and midwives must use for revalidation.

Write your own reflective account

You can gain a certificate of learning by reading a Nursing Standard CPD article and writing a reflective account. To write a reflective account for Nursing Standard, use the NMC reflective accounts form 

Complete the four questions about the CPD article you have just read, writing about 800 words in total. Details of how to submit your reflective account are available here

Want to read more?

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursing standard.com and the Nursing Standard app
  • Monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs