Predicting biomechanical load and MSD risk capability for nurses using simulation


Key words: MSD prevention in healthcare, field study, simulation, ergonomics, nurses

Timeline: December 2017 - present

Researchers: Sadeem M. Qureshi (Co-Lead Investigator, Ryerson University), Patrick Neumann (Co-Lead Investigator, Ryerson University), Nancy Purdy (Co-Lead Investigator, Ryerson University), Michael A. Greig (Ryerson University), Helen Kelly (University Health Network), Jonas Eriksson (University Health Network)

Funder: CRE-MSD

Project type: Seed grant

Partner: University Health Network (UHN)

Sector/Workplace type: Healthcare

Theme 3 Hazard identification and risk assessment


This project is part of an ongoing collaboration with University Health Network (UHN) to develop simulation models from design and policy variables that currently lacks MSD risk prediction ability. Simulation opens the door for management and system designers to understand the hazards associated with their design and policy options; a novel ‘safety by design’ approach. Linking risk factors directly to management and design decisions, and simultaneously working directly with unit and management groups to raise awareness about MSD risk and their sources in their system, opens doors for greater hazard reduction as compared to conventional reactive ergonomics approaches. 

Research question/objectives/methods

The main goal of this project is to develop a methodology that estimates the effects of changing work design parameters on healthcare professionals’ MSD risks, using simulation technologies (Discrete Event Simulation –DES). This project will allow introduction of MSD risk assessment into the prediction of nurse and patient outcomes as a start point to broader modeling of MSD risk in healthcare professions.

Research questions:

  1. How can MSD risk prediction be integrated in the Simulation prototype model for daily nursing tasks?
  2. What are the biomechanical loads encountered by nurses while performing daily tasks in an inpatient unit?
  3. How do changes in staffing ratios and patient acuity, as example job characteristics with MSD risk implications, affect biomechanical loading in nurses and MSD risk?

Key findings

In progress

Implications for the prevention of MSD

In progress

Knowledge dissemination

In progress


For more information please contact Sadeem M. Qureshi at, Patrick Neumann at, or Nancy Purdy at

Last updated: January 11, 2018

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