The senior team at Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) became concerned not only about the alarming rise in workplace violence but also the likelihood that incidents were under-reported. As a result, a comprehensive Workplace Violence Prevention (WVP) program was developed, which has not only helped address the issue, but put the hospital on the national and provincial stage as a leader and mentor in WVP.
Recognizing the importance of collaboration, MGH partnered with Ontario Nurses Association (ONA), which helped to provide insight and practical experience in WVP and led to a joint statement to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care stressing the importance of developing a strategy around WVP and making it a matter of executive accountability. Today, MGH’s Workplace Violence Committee welcomes leaders from ONA, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and Ontario Public Service (OPSEU), and has influenced the creation of legislation, best practice guidelines, WVP research, and provided direction on policy and initiatives such as risk assessments, alerts for behavioural care, comprehensive staff training and communication and incident reporting systems.
The program has improved qualitative and quantitative results, but most importantly has led to a cultural shift for hospital staff. De-stigmatizing issues surrounding workplace violence and shifting the culture to one that understands the true meaning of zero tolerance and fosters the idea of “speaking up” has been the greatest impact. Strong support from leadership has provided the catalyst to sustain and grow the program, influence research and influence best practice across the system.