From there to here and here to there. Nurses are active everywhere!

Stephanie Chappel1, Professor Julie Considine2,3, Associate Professor Brad Aisbett1, Dr Nicola Ridgers1

1Deakin University, Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Geelong, Australia, 2Deakin University, School of Nursing and Midwifery and Centre for Quality and Patient Safety Research, Geelong, Australia, 3Centre for Quality and Patient Safety Research – Eastern Health Partnership, Box Hill, Australia


It has been suggested that nurses need interventions to increase their physical activity (PA) levels, yet these recommendations are based on their leisure-time PA. Emergency nursing is physically demanding, and it is possible that they accumulate the majority of their PA at work. Before making recommendations about nurses’ occupational PA levels, a better understanding of nurses total PA (occupational and leisure) is needed. Limited research exists relating to nurses’ occupational PA levels, but current evidence suggests that the majority of shifts are spent in light-intensity activity (mainly standing and slow walking) interspersed with moderate-intensity nursing tasks. Consequently, it appears that nurses meet the PA guidelines through work activity alone. However, it is known how nurses accumulate their occupational PA. The aim of this study is to understand emergency nurses’ occupational PA levels and the effect of leisure-time activity and shift work on occupational PA.


Nurses will be recruited through three hospitals with emergency departments. Eligible participants are emergency nurses working a combination of early, late and/or night shifts. Nurses with a current injury or in their 3rd trimester of pregnancy will be excluded. Emergency nurses will be asked to wear an ActiGraph monitor on their hip during work and leisure-time. This monitor measures the intensity of the activity they engage in across the day (e.g., sedentary, light, moderate and vigorous). Nurses will also be asked to wear a new device on their thigh (activPAL) which measures sitting, standing and stepping time. Daily work and sleep diaries will also be completed. Given these data are time stamped, occupational and leisure-time PA patterns can be explored in detail. Analyses will examine the effects of PA accumulated in one shift on the next, and the influence of leisure-time on occupational PA and vice versa.


Preliminary results will be presented.


Ms Stephanie E. Chappel is a current PhD candidate in the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN) at Deakin University. She is currently in her second year of candidature. Stephanie has completed her Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science (Honours) in 2015 at Deakin University on ‘Firefighters Physical Activity across Multiple Shifts of Planned Burn Work’, which was published in 2016.  She has also recently published a review  ‘Nurses’ occupational physical activity levels: A systematic review’ and a commentary piece ‘Putting the ‘Physical’ Back into Nursing: Recognising Nursing as a Physically Demanding Occupation’. Stephanie’s PhD thesis is focusing on nurses’ on-shift physical activity levels, with a particular focus on emergency nursing.