I just graduated from nursing school. The first three hospitals I applied at all required preemployment screening. They weren't screening for drugs like I expected. They were screening for back pain. What's going on?

Nurses seem to have a high prevalence of back pain and disability. Understandably, employers want to avoid having to pay mega-dollars for back care for so many of their workers.

Studies clearly show that a previous history of back pain is a risk factor for future episodes of back problems. A recent study of nursing students and nurses from Finland shows a direct link between nursing students with back pain (before they ever treated patients) and future disability from back pain.

Pre-employment screening is to protect the hiring agency before a problem develops. Pre-nursing school screening may be next.