Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario


  • In Canada, more than 16 million nursing hours are lost to injury and illness annually. In fact, nurses have a substantially higher rate of absenteeism than the national average.
  • Creating and maintaining healthy workplaces will be critical if nurses are to be successfully recruited and retained
  • This guideline has been developed to identify sources of occupational stress and injury that negatively influence the health, well-being and quality of work life for nurses
  • Ensuring the health, safety and well-being of the current and future nursing workforce is vital to the future of the health care system.
  • This guideline was based on existing theory and evidence relating to the following themes:

1) a comprehensive definition of the terms “health” and “well-being”;

2) legislation regarding workplace health and safety; and

3) nurses’ connectedness with their work.

  • For the purposes of this document, the concept of workplace health and safety includes:
    • Occupational health and safety initiatives that focus on prevention of injuries and illnesses and elimination or control of hazards.
    • Health promotion/wellness activities.
    • Supportive organizational culture and leadership practices.
    • Employee assistance programs to assist employees with personal issues.
    • Ability management programs including early intervention and return to work initiatives.
  • This document seeks to guide the reader to an understanding of issues pertaining to the health, safety and well-being of the nurse.
  • Recommendations are designed to address organizational changes that will promote the health, safety and well-being of the nurse and engage decision makers at all levels.
  •  These recommendations are based upon the most recent and rigorous empirical literature available to date, as well as the work of experts in the field of nurse and employee health and wellness.


Healthy Work Environment
Workplace Health, Safety and Well-being of the Nurse
Background Information