• Critical exploration and evaluation of key literature
• Identification of key themes within the current knowledge base
• Identification of gaps in knowledge current
• Justification for study
• Short Conclusion
Background/Purpose:Medical sonography has become a vital diagnostic and therapeutic modality in modern-day healthcare practice, particularly in the fields of obstetrics and gynaecology. However, sonographers often have to work in situations which necessitate their carrying out repetitive movements, adopting awkward, misaligned positions and maintaining significant amounts of pressure on transducers for long periods of time. As a result, symptoms such as muscle and joint pain are common amongst practitioners. With up to 80–85% of sonographers working in pain, there is a need to develop suitable prevention programmes, which will require an in-depth knowledge of the factors causing and/or predisposing sonographers to the development of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSDs). This study focussed on identifying these factors.
Methodology: MEDLINE, PubMed, CINAHL, EBSCO, PEDro, PsycINFO, AMED and the Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) online library via GCU’s ‘DISCOVER IT’ engine were electronically searched. The study was conducted as a structured literature review, adopting the PIO approach to guide the development of a research question and the database search. The use of carefully defined search terms and Reference Manager, the separation of grey literature and publications which were not in the English language and the application of specific inclusion and exclusion criteria resulted in the selection of sixrelevant articles, those that meet the inclusion criteria. These were subsequently assessed for quality using the CASP tool and subjected to a standardised data extraction form.
Main Results: This review highlighted the fact that there is a relatively high prevalence of WRMSDs amongst sonographers. Work-related risk factors include high patient loads, long working hours andrepetitive muscle movements in repetitive work done by specialised sonographers such as cardiac and obstetric sonographers. Other factors include ergonomically poor equipment, poor workspace organisation and poor work scheduling. The increasing obesity of present-day populations causes increased stress and strain amongst sonographers and augments the possibility of developing WRMSDs.
Conclusion: The development of WRMSDs amongst modern-day sonographers is the result of interactions between different individual, workplace, administrative and biomechanical factors. Poor work scheduling, high patient loads (resulting in part from low staffing levels) and little or no practitioner rest between patients are additional influencing factors. This pointsto the need for modern, ergonomically safe equipment; proper workplace organisation;and the development of good work environments for sonographers. It is recommendedthat future research should identify the degree of influence of each factor on the development of WRMSDs. Finally, qualitative examination of influences on employee well-being, satisfaction and commitment can help to provide insights into the creation of ergonomically and psychologically healthy environments.
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