Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

James J. Neutens

Committee Members

Bill Wallace, Robert Pursley, Michael Logan


The purpose of this study was to develop a job-specific abilities analysis for nurses, and to compile medical standards for disability assessment based upon abilities analysis, appropriate for The University of Tennessee Medical Center at Knoxville. The primary area of interest for this research was back disability.

A group of 226 staff nurses at the Medical Center completed a survey of six physical ability scales developed to assess the greatest amount of physical stress experienced by them in their daily duties. In addition, a group of 24 physicians and physical therapists completed a survey designed to rate the maximum allowable physical stress for each of the same six physical ability scales.

A statistical analysis of the findings of this investigation led to the following conclusions:

1. A task-oriented abilities analysis profile of the physical stress experienced by nurses in six physical ability areas was produced for The University of Tennessee Medical Center.

2. An abilities-specific, medical standards profile for back problems, covering six physical ability areas, was produced for this institution.

3. Supervisory personnel are able to assess the physical stresses required of nurses in their jobs on an equal level with the line personnel.

4. General practitioners and physical therapists were not found to assess allowable physical stress on an equal level with orthopedic and neurologic surgeons.

5. There is a need for educational and behavioral programs in the areas of obesity and care of the lower back in this nursing population.

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