Learning to properly transfer a patient from one location to another is one of the first things nursing students and new nurses learn.
Maintaining proper body mechanics (similar to ergonomics) is quite important, because back problems and other strain injuries can be serious workplace hazards for nurses. It's challenging to stay in proper alignment and lifting technique while maintaining awareness of, and adjusting for, any special difficulties or issues a given patient might have with injuries, mobility, or balance.
There are all sorts of gadgets and devices to help with lifting and transferring patients. These lifts require special training to use, and can be quite intimidating to patients -- especially when it involves having them hang from a sling on a frame.
That's why I was so psyched to see a recent story about a cool technological development that's actually apparently been around for two years (although the previous version wasn't nearly as strong as the new one).
It's a robotic nurse/teddy-bear called the Riba II that can transfer patients from a bed to a wheelchair and back. The Riba II can even perform the amazing feat of lifting a patient to and from the floor.
As you can see if you click on the unfortunately non-embeddable YouTube video from the Riken Research Center in Japan, the Riba II is probably not going to put any real-live human nurses out of a job anytime soon. Human assistance is definitely needed for patient lifting with devices.
Even so, this back-saving robot is sure to be a valued member of the medical team. And the novelty of being lifted by an adorable but burly robotic teddy bear is bound to be a delightful distraction to the anxiety of being lifted up.
Check out the Reuters video below.
Image courtesy of Riken via CNET.