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Trauma and Stress

The CFNU is working hard to ensure nurses are included in all federal PTSD and occupational stress injury legislation and policies.

Canadian nurses provide high-quality frontline health care in hospitals and communities across Canada. Unfortunately, nurses, like other frontline workers, are often exposed to workplace trauma causing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or PTSD symptoms. Exposure to patient trauma as well as physical and verbal abuse can cause serious mental health injuries, such as PTSD. Here are some important facts:

  • Manitoba research revealed 1/4 nurses suffer from PTSD symptoms resulting from workplace trauma.
  • Nurses are four times more likely to suffer from PTSD than the rest of the population.

National Nurse Stress Survey


The first anonymous Canada-wide assessment of Occupational Stress Injuries (including PTSD) among nurses.


All nurses, regardless of  your mental health status.  Your responses will help everyone in need!

The survey link is now available below and will ask you to reflect on your own mental health, which may be challenging at times, but will add your anonymous voice to those of your peers across the country. The more of you who participate, with or without mental health problems, the more weight your collective voice will have in fostering better mental health for all Canadian nurses.

Trauma and stress don’t end when the shift does.

Add your voice!

Nurses in PTSD Legislation

For almost two years, the CFNU has lobbied members of parliament, senators and ministers, demanding that nurses be included in the federal bill C-211, An Act to establish a federal framework on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). With high rates of workplace-related PTSD among nurses, the CFNU’s top priority was to ensure nurses were not forgotten in this legislation.

Our efforts paid off with a small victory in June, when the Senate Committee on National Security issued a recommendation to the Health Minister to include nurses in the implementation of Bill C-211. The legislation was finally adopted in June 2018. Equipped with the Senate recommendation, the CFNU will ensure that nurses are duly considered within any federal framework on PTSD.

The CFNU was invited to participate in the planning and execution of the federal conference on PTSD, hosted in Ottawa in April 2019.

The CFNU will ensure that nurses are duly considered within any federal framework on PTSD.

Better Research

Teaming up with the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment, the CFNU has embarked on ground-breaking research to gather Canada-wide data on nursing and workplace PTSD. This research will help to inform future advocacy efforts and will ensure that nurses are never again left out of government decisions on workplace PTSD.

Learn more:

Add your voice!