Key points ■ Ergonomics is the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment. ■ Trauma and orthopaedic surgery has a high rate of occupational injury and there is limited research, knowledge or institutional support in this area. ■ Improved awareness, education and design of orthopaedic equipment would reduce time off work, improve mental health and prolong careers. ■ Improvements in the ergonomic design of orthopaedic instruments for the anthropometrics of women would reduce the risk of injury to surgeons who are women as well as hopefully encouraging women into trauma and orthopaedic surgery. ■ Solutions include collaboration with the armed forces to implement proven solutions for similar problems, and incorporation of virtual reality devices to benefit orthopaedic theatres, prevent musculoskeletal injury and improve training opportunities.
efficiency. Not only does virtual reality enable surgeons to connect in real time and deliver optimum patient care, it also provides training benefits and reduces musculoskeletal load (Karim, 2020). Such tools could provide solutions for common problems such as reducing intraoperative radiation and increasing training opportunities. This would create a safer working environment.
Conclusions The future of orthopaedics has exciting potential which can be unlocked by spearheading developments in ergonomics. This is needed to prolong careers, improve patient outcomes, encourage women into the specialty and provide a better training environment. It is crucial that occupational injury is researched and addressed in groups of orthopaedic surgeons, to maintain and optimise physical and mental health and improve work efficiency and longevity of practice. Collaborative efforts between orthopaedic surgeons who are women and industry partners should facilitate more ergonomic designs suited for the anthropometrics of women and lead to a more inclusive culture. These developments can be accelerated by working with other sectors, including the armed forces and the technology industry. It is vital that these issues are addressed to safeguard the future of trauma and orthopaedic surgery.
Author details 1Department of Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery, Royal Cornwall Hospital, UK 2Department of Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK 3Department of Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery, Wexham Park Hospital, Slough, UK 4 Department of Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery, Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, Exeter, UK References AlQahtani SM, Alzahrani MM, Harvey EJ. Prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders among orthopedic trauma surgeons: an OTA survey. Can J Surg. 2016;59(1):42–47. https://doi.org/10.1503/cjs.014415 Bhatti F. Deeds not words. Bulletin. 2020;102(8):344–344. https://doi.org/10.1308/rcsbull.2020.193 Butt D, Hadjipavlou M, Walczak J. A noise at work assessment in the orthopaedic operating theatre.
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British Journal of Hospital Medicine | November–December 2021 | https://doi.org/10.12968/hmed.2021.0581