IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

Nurses Affected by Adverse Events: Research on Lived Experience and Suffering to Improve Their Health and the Quality of Care


Despite efforts to provide safe, high-quality care to users, professionals may unintentionally harm patients during treatment. These adverse events can sometimes have consequences for the health status of those being cared for. In 2018, 513,357 adverse events were reported in Québec and although for 14.5% of them the consequences were temporary, more than 400 resulted in death.

While these adverse events have a significant impact on patients and their loved ones, the nurses involved must also be considered as secondary victims. These professionals experience suffering and are affected by these events. The literature reports psychological symptoms (sadness, grief, fear, agitation, panic, confusion), physical symptoms (fatigue, nausea, headaches, abdominal pain, high blood pressure), cognitive symptoms (difficulty in concentrating), and long-term psychological effects (depression, anxiety, post-traumatic syndrome).

The objective of this research project is to understand the experiences, suffering and support needs of these nurses in the context of managing these adverse events and related risks in Québec’s health care settings.

Additional Information

Type: Project
Number: 2019-0045
Status: Ongoing
  • Nicolas Vonarx (Université Laval)
  • Frédéric Douville (Université Laval)
  • Patrick Martin (Université Laval)