July 30, 2015

Study: Characterizing the O&P Workplace Environment

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A team of researchers from La Trobe University, Bundoora, Australia, undertook a study to characterize the physical, psychosocial, and environmental workplace experiences of P&O practitioners. The results were published July 23 in Prosthetics and Orthotics International.

According to the study abstract, focus groups explored workplace and work experiences across varied O&P settings; focus group participants were recruited through the Australian Orthotic Prosthetic Association. Three major themes within the data were identified as areas of concern: demands of work practice (e.g., exposure to machinery noises, hazardous materials, ill-equipped and/or poorly designed workspaces, and physical demands), impacts on the individual (e.g., management issues and addressing complex patient problems), and job design (e.g., level of independence and variety the job entails). Further, an underlying theme highlighted a lack of understanding of the job role outside the profession.

To further their work, this team is conducting an international survey of prosthetists and orthotists about their physical and psychosocial well-being and work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Questions regarding the survey can be addressed to Sarah Anderson at sarah.anderson@latrobe.edu.au.

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