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June 16, 2020

Mental Disorder Symptoms Among Nurses in Canada


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This is the first Canada-wide assessment of post-traumatic stress injuries (PTSI) among nurses, commissioned by CFNU.

Nurses are often required to respond to high-stress situations as a regular part of their work, and some of these high-stress situations may occur repeatedly and be traumatic. These types of stressors can have a cumulative effect, wearing down nurses’ abilities to cope, and exposure to traumatic events may be linked to mental health disorders. Mental Disorder Symptoms Among Nurses in Canada (PDF) aims to provide a picture of the prevalence of nurses’ mental disorder symptoms across Canada as there was no national validated data available.  Data were collected using a web-based self-report survey of nurses, open to participants from May 15, 2019, until September 30, 2019. 7,358 regulated nurses (RNs, RPNs, LPNs, NPs) participated in the survey.

The current study identifies the prevalence rates of post-traumatic stress injuries (PTSI) (i.e. PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Alcohol Use Disorder), potential risk factors, nurses’ responses to PTSI, and the various interventions taken, including mental health training, and help-seeking behaviour. The study compares nurse data to the results of a parallel survey undertaken with public safety personnel (PSP) in 2016-2017, as well as to the general population. It provides a breakdown of the data in relation to a number of variables, including place of work, years of experience and gender. The report offers a number of recommendations for employers and both federal and provincial governments.

Download Mental Disorder Symptoms Among Nurses in Canada (PDF)

Download the Questions and Answers document (PDF), which provides a plain-language summary of the report’s key findings.

Read the media release.