Saf Health Work.  2015 Dec;6(4):305-311. 10.1016/

Workplace System Factors of Obstetric Nurses in Northeastern Ontario, Canada: Using a Work Disability Prevention Approach

  • 1Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health, Laurentian University, Sudbury, ON, Canada.
  • 2Schools of Rural and Northern Health, Social Work, and Human Sciences Division, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Laurentian University, Sudbury, ON, Canada.
  • 3Centre for Continuing Education McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada.
  • 4School of Human Kinetics and Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Laurentian University, Sudbury, ON, Canada.
  • 5Centre for Rural and Northern and Health Research, Laurentian University, Sudbury, ON, Canada.
  • 6Health Sciences North, Sudbury, ON, Canada.


The purpose
of this study was to examine the relationship nursing personal and workplace system factors (work disability) and work ability index scores in Ontario, Canada.
A total of 111 registered nurses were randomly selected from the total number of registered nurses on staff in the labor, delivery, recovery, and postpartum areas of four northeastern Ontario hospitals. Using a stratified random design approach, 51 participants were randomly selected in four northeastern Ontario cities.
A total of 51 (45.9% response rate) online questionnaires were returned and another 60 (54.1% response rate) were completed using the paper format. The obstetric workforce in northeastern Ontario was predominately female (94.6%) with a mean age of 41.9 (standard deviation = 10.2). In the personal systems model, three variables: marital status (p = 0.025), respondent ethnicity (p = 0.026), and mean number of patients per shift (p = 0.049) were significantly contributed to the variance in work ability scores. In the workplace system model, job and career satisfaction (p = 0.026) had a positive influence on work ability scores, while work absenteeism (p = 0.023) demonstrated an inverse relationship with work ability scores. In the combined model, all the predictors were significantly related to work ability scores.
Work ability is closely related to job and career satisfaction, and perceived control at work among obstetric nursing. In order to improve work ability, nurses need to work in environments that support them and allow them to be engaged in the decision-making processes.


job and career satisfaction; nurses; obstetrics; work absenteeism; workplace disability
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