Evaluation of a musculoskeletal training package for occupational health practitioners

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BackgroundMusculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are a common cause of disability in the workplace. Despite this, there is known to be a wide variation in the assessment of MSDs by UK occupational health (OH) professionals. Therefore we developed a workshop, supported by a bespoke, on-line video, focussing on the assessment and management of MSDs.AimsTo assess the impact of the training package on the knowledge, confidence and reported behaviour of attendees.MethodsWorkshops were held in two regional centres in England. Delegates completed a questionnaire on arrival to establish their baseline knowledge and confidence and again at the end of the training. A third questionnaire, with one reminder, was e-mailed to delegates 4 months following the workshops.ResultsNinety-two OH professionals (77 nurses, 10 doctors and 5 ‘others’) attended and more than 80% reported that they had no previous training in examining the upper or lower limb or in distinguishing specific from non-specific MSDs. Confidence among delegates in examination, diagnosis and management of MSDs improved after the workshop and these changes were sustained and remained statistically significant from baseline 4 months afterwards. Following the training, 79% (50) of delegates reported that they had shared the knowledge and skills acquired with their colleagues and 71% reported that they had used the examination techniques in their day-to-day practice.ConclusionsWe have developed a training package which resulted in improved knowledge among attendees and gave them confidence to use their skills in practice.

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