Background: This study compares the health status, preventive behaviour and risk factors of female nurses with those of other employed postsecondary-educated women. DATA AND METHODS; Cross-sectional data from the 2003 Canadian Community Health Survey were analyzed. Multiple logistic regression analyses were conducted to adjust for potential confounding by demographic and socio-economic characteristics.
Results: When confounding by demographic and socioeconomic characteristics was taken into account, nurses were more likely than other employed postsecondary-educated women to report back problems, that most work days were "quite a bit" or "extremely" stressful, and having had flu immunizations and cervical cancer screening. They were less likely to report insufficient consumption of vegetables and fruit or heavy alcohol use.
Interpretation: Canadian nurses' occupation may account for their higher prevalence of back problems and work stress. At the same time, their occupation may motivate flu immunization, cervical cancer screening, and vegetable and fruit consumption. Some problematic aspects of nurses' health profile are similar to those of other educated women.