Learning safe patient handling skills: Student nurse experiences of university and practice based education

Rosie Kneafsey, Carol Haigh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Poor patient handling practices increase nurse injuries and reduce patients' safety and comfort. Background: UK Universities have a duty to prepare student nurses for patient handling activities occurring during clinical placements. This study examines students' experiences of moving and handling education in academic and clinical settings. Methods: A 34 item questionnaire was distributed to student nurses at one School of Nursing (n = 432, response rate of 75%). Results: Many students undertook unsafe patient handling practices and provided reasons for this. There was a medium statistically significant correlation between the variables 'provision of supervision' and 'awareness of patient handling needs' (rs = .390, p = .000). 40% of students stated that their M&H competency was assessed through direct observation. Twenty six percent of the total sample (n = 110), said they had begun to develop musculo-skeletal pain since becoming a student nurse. Forty-eight stated that this was caused by an incident whilst on placement. Discussion: Inadequate patient handling practices threaten student nurse safety in clinical settings. Although some students may be overly confident, they should be supervised when undertaking M&H activities. Conclusions: Though important, University based M&H education will only be beneficial if students learn in clinical settings that take safe patient handling seriously.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)832-839
Number of pages8
JournalNurse Education Today
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Education
  • Moving and handling
  • Student nurses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Education


Dive into the research topics of 'Learning safe patient handling skills: Student nurse experiences of university and practice based education'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this