IJERPH, Vol. 20, Pages 6037: How Do We Keep Our Heads above Water? An Embedded Mixed-Methods Study Exploring Implementation of a Workplace Reintegration Program for Nurses Affected by Operational Stress Injury (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
Background: Nurses are exposed to potentially psychologically traumatic events which can lead to operational stress injuries (OSI). Workplace reintegration after an OSI can be challenging, especially with repeated exposure to potentially traumatic scenarios and workplace demands. A workplace reintegration program (RP) originally developed for police officers may be of benefit for nurses returning to work after an OSI. The purpose of this study is to investigate the perceived need for an RP for nurses, and its potential contextualization and implementation in the nursing context using an implementation science approach. Methods: This mixed-methods study collected data via questionnaires and focus groups from acute care nurses in Canada (N = 19). Data analysis was conducted using descriptive statistics, thematic analysis, and an organizational readiness assessment. Results: Study participants indicated that formalized processes were rarely used to support nurses returning to work after time off due to mental health challenges. Themes included (1) “The Perfect Storm”: the current state of return-to-work, (2) Integral Needs, and (3) A Break in the Clouds: hope for health. Conclusions: Exploration of innovative programs such as the RP may provide additional support to nurses affected by OSIs. Further research is needed regarding workplace reintegration for nurses, and contextualization and evaluation of the RP.