OBJECTIVES: Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) are common occupational injuries for nurses. Furthermore, rotating and irregular shift work may exacerbate muscle tension and pain in nurses. The objective of this study was to examine the differences between fixed day shift (FDS) nurses and rotating and irregular shift (RS + IS) nurses in WMSDs using a systematic literature review and meta-analysis. METHODS: Databases including PubMed, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, EBSCOhost, and Google Scholar were searched for relevant studies published between 2010 and 2020 using the target keywords. RESULTS: This study obtained data on a total of 18 199 nurses, among which 12 786 comprised the RS + IS group and 5413 constituted the FDS group. The result of the heterogeneity test was Q = 79.27 (P < .001) and I squared = 57.11%, indicating that heterogeneity existed among the studies. Subgroup analyses were also conducted with four groups: neck pain (n = 1818), shoulder and upper limb pain (n = 2525), back pain (n = 11 962), and hip and lower limb pain (n = 1894). Significant differences were found between the RS + IS group and the FDS group with regard to back pain, with the forest plot presenting an odds ratio equaling 1.40 (95% CI: 1.19-1.64, P < .001). CONCLUSIONS: This meta-analysis indicated that RS + IS nurses are more likely to experience back pain associated with WMSD than are FDS nurses. The results can serve as a reference to the clinical management for work improvement and thereby reduce or prevent the adverse effects of rotating and irregular shift work on back pain experienced by nurses.
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