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A tribute to a gifted scholar, Anne Hudson, who has made revolutionary advances in healthcare and patient safety in our nation.

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  • 1University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA.


This article describes how Mary Anne Hudson, RN, BSN, turned a devastating spinal injury from lifting patients into a powerful, national-level campaign for safe patient handling in America. Anne Hudson was a well-respected nurse, caring for acutely ill patients in medical-surgical, telemetry, and intermediate care units of a hospital, until a spinal injury from lifting patients ended her hospital career. She discovered that training in "correct" patient lifting technique and body mechanics was inadequate to protect against injury with lifting adult patients of all sizes. The injury led to 2 years of conservative treatment, followed by a two-level, anterior-posterior, lumbar, interbody fusion, with placement of cadaver bone grafts and titanium hardware. During nearly 5 years of dealing with the workers' compensation system, Anne Hudson found that workers' compensation does not assist back-disabled nurses to return to their employment, but, typically re-directs such injured nurses away from nursing, into lower-paying, non-nursing work. With permanent lifting restrictions, Anne Hudson counts herself as quite fortunate to have found other employment as a public health nurse with the county health department. She was aware that a cycle of pain, frustration, and depression is common among injured nurses who are terminated when they can no longer lift. Anne Hudson's response was to seek information on back injury to nurses. (ABSTRACT TRUNCATED)

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