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

Supporting the Security of Nursing Staff When They Return to Work after a Prolonged Absence Following an Episode of Workplace Violence


This project seeks to understand the experience of nurses on prolonged absence following an episode of workplace violence and their needs for support when they return to work.

Thus, the main purpose is to construct a theoretical model of support developed in collaboration with the key players involved. In addition, the research team wants to understand the experiences of nurses who have been on a prolonged absence and their prime needs for support regarding a planned return to work.

According to data from the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, before the COVID-19 pandemic, the absence rate for nurses in Canada varied between 9% and 15.4%. This rate was mainly due to psychosocial risk factors. The financial costs associated with these absences were estimated at $455 million in disability insurance paid in Quebec in 2016, 44% of which was attributable to medical leave for mental health problems.

This finding fits into the strong rise in claims accepted by the CNESST between 2017 and 2020, which were caused by physical violence (+76.7%), injuries attributable to stress (+48.6%) and injuries resulting from psychological and sexual harassment (+414%).

The scientific literature presents some avenues for intervention, especially for mental health problems, related to anxiety or depressive disorders or to adjustment disorder. Nevertheless, few data exist on people who have experienced an episode of workplace violence. This study will improve our understanding of the multidimensional phenomenon of the return to work from nurses’ perspective.

Additional Information

Type: Project
Number: 2022-0033
Status: Ongoing
Research Field: Occupational Rehabilitation
  • Diane Guay (Université de Sherbrooke)
  • Marie-France Coutu (Université de Sherbrooke)
  • Marie-France Levert (Université de Montréal)
  • Chantal Caux (Université de Montréal)
  • Marc Dumas (Université de Sherbrooke)