Trying to get back: The challenges faced by registered nurses returning to work

Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Laurie Clune
Institute for Work & Health

Nursing is a profession that is at high risk for injuries. The successful return of nurses to their pre-injury role is essential given the global nursing shortage.

This study sought to describe the return-to-work processes in southern Ontario hospitals through the experiences of injured registered nurses (IRN). The purpose of the study is to describe with a sample IRNs and others involved in hospital injury management how return to work happens in hospitals. 

This research employed institutional ethnography as the approach to examine the topic. Participants in this study included a convenience sample of six IRNs and 22 others involved in hospital injury management practices. Most IRNs interviewed in this study were unable to return to work. Hospitals faced challenges in finding accommodated work for IRNs given organizational commitments to patient safety and fiscal efficiency.  The findings afford new insights and can inform hospital injury management practices used with registered nurses.