Beyond back pain: What do we know about musculoskeletal disorders among nurses? Helen Harcombe

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), such as low back pain, are common among nurses – other conditions are also important but have not been given the same attention. This presentation will draw on a body of quantitative and qualitative work focused on musculoskeletal disorders among nurses to discuss the impact of these conditions, interventions that have been undertaken to try to address this issue and potential future directions.

Helen is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine at the University of Otago. She has a clinical background as a physiotherapist and a PhD in public health.  As a physiotherapist, she spent many years treating people with a variety of musculoskeletal conditions. Combining her clinical experience with her research expertise in epidemiology Helen has completed a number of projects focused on musculoskeletal disorders among nurses. She also undertakes injury research more broadly where she is interested in understanding and optimising people’s experience after they have been injured, with a particular focus on subsequent injury prevention.


General Sponsor

Defries NZ is a privately owned company that designs, develops and supplies quality sterile medical and surgical products.  We have been supplying to New Zealand healthcare providers for over 28 years.  As a world class manufacturer, we are committed to suppling high quality products that excel in design, ease of use, safety and price.
Our specialties include custom procedure packs, surgical equipment and drapes, clinical protective apparel, theatre consumables, disposable bowls, wound care, sterilised consumables, surgical dressings, tapes and bandages, and custom printed labels.



Healthcare Australia (HCA) is the leading healthcare recruitment solutions provider of nursing staff, care and disability workers, allied health and medical specialist placements in Australia with operations in every state and territory.
Our family of brands match healthcare professionals with temporary positions,  short term contracts as well as with permanent options, which are vastly available due to the national and regional preferred-provider agreements existing with leading public and private hospital groups.
The services provided by HCA are a practical solution to the growing nursing and medical skills shortage in Australia, while striving to offer a work-life balance with many choices for all staff.










MERCY SHIPS – the hospital ship charity
New Zealander volunteers have quietly gone about providing free, essential surgery for people in developing nations with the international hospital ship charity Mercy Ships, for 40 years.
The not-for-profit’s mission is to alleviate the impact of accidental trauma, birth complications and the lack of surgical intervention for amenable disease which can cause life-long disability or death.
According to the World Health Organisation, lack of access to safe surgery in developing nations causes more deaths annually worldwide than HIV, TBs and malaria combined.
Mercy Ships operates the world’s largest civilian hospital ship, Africa Mercy. From this transportable healthcare platform, volunteers from New Zealand and around the world offer six surgical specialities, dental care and medical capacity-building programmes.  Mercy Ships makes access to safe surgery a reality for people in extreme poverty, and helps upskill local medical professionals. All services are delivered without charge, during ten-month field services in West Africa.
Soon to double the free surgical services offered, Mercy Ships needs YOU – Kiwi theatre, ICU/PICU and paediatric nurses to volunteer for the professional adventure of a lifetime. – bringing transformational healthcare to some of Africa’s poorest people.
Volunteer information at



Ortho Medics, an independent supplier of quality products to the Operating Theatres and Sterile Services Departments, has been committed to providing the highest level of service to the healthcare industry for over 30 years.
Our product range includes Orthopaedic & CMF implants; OrthoScan Mini C-Arms; Surgical instruments for most specialties, Sterilizing Containers and an extensive range of customized Sterilisation trays and accessories; the MaQS Instrument Tracking and Inventory and Asset Management System.
For more information call our Toll Free service on 0800 333 909 or visit our website

Ortho Medics Limited, 586 Great South Road, Ellerslie, Auckland 1051
PH:      0800 333 909
PH:      09 527 1203
FX:       09 527 1206

Murray Hey, Surgical Territory Manager
021 471 400

Clint Farr, Orthopaedic Consultant
024 919 969