To the Editors:

It is such a relief to hear that someone cares about nurses’ physical aches and heartaches at their work-places. In the guest editorial titled “Nurses and Preventable Back Injuries” (September 2003:400–401), the challenges faced by nurses—short staffing and the lifting and transferring of patients—are articulated very well.

I have been a nurse for 23 years. I had 2 years of intensive training at a rehabilitation hospital on lifting and transferring patients before I worked in an intensive care unit for 10 years. When nurses complain about their backs, we are told to “use proper body mechanics,” as if to say that we do not follow the proper technique. The truth is that nurses do use proper body mechanics, but how much weight can one person lift? I am among the many nurses who have been injured...

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