Barriers and enablers to patient mobility from the perspective of the nurses: A qualitative study

Dr Lara Edbrooke, Professor Andrea Maier, Dr Suzanne Kapp

Research output: ThesisMasters Thesis


Mobilising patients can improve their physical function and reduce length of stay in hospital. Nurses have an integral role in mobilising patients, however, it is known that mobilising patients is challenging and that barriers may exist at a number of levels, including the patient, care provider, service and system.

The aim of this study was to examine barriers and enablers to medical hospital patient mobility from the perspective of the nurses. A qualitative, descriptive study was conducted with nurses working on two medical wards at Royal Melbourne Hospital. Interview data was thematically analysed to determine barriers and enablers to mobilising patients.

The sample included 12 nurses who were 39 years of age (average) and who had 11 years nursing experience (average). In total 19 barriers and enablers to mobilising patients were identified (10 barriers and 9 enablers). Many of the findings were consistent with earlier research however some barriers and enablers to mobilisation were new. The study identified barriers and enablers in an Australian healthcare setting.

These findings of the study provide some direction for future clinical care, education and research. Nurses are in a prime position to promote mobilisation and the involvement of family should be considered. Nurses could learn more from physiotherapists to enhance their confidence in mobilising patients. Increasing awareness of barriers and enablers to mobilising patents may help to improve nurse practices and outcomes, and this should be evaluated over time.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Melbourne
  • Kapp, Dr Suzanne, Principal Supervisor, External person
Award date19 Jun 2020
Publication statusUnpublished - Mar 2020


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