OHS week is in full swing in our organization and I believe that this event at the Federation is more relevant today than ever before. Healthcare professionals’ workload and distress have reached critical levels, which is why we can’t speak enough about occupational health and safety.
Over the last several months, many healthcare professionals have spoken up about their exasperation at no longer being able to provide quality patient care. Several have come forward to say they are fed up with being held hostage by a crumbling health network. Their excessive workload, exacerbated by the staff shortage and constant mandatory overtime, create a dangerous combination, one that poses a considerable threat to the physical and mental health of nurses, LPNs, respiratory therapists and clinical perfusionists.
We’re good at taking care of others. What we need to get better at is taking care of ourselves. In this case, the saying, ‘a poorly shod shoemaker’ fits healthcare professionals to a t. In the next few weeks, I will meet with the new Minister of Health and Social Services, Danielle McCann, to ensure she delivers on her promise to bring relief to healthcare professionals. She needs to take fast action to improve conditions for those who care for patients 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year. It is high time that the mental health of healthcare professionals become a priority for both employers and the government.
In the meantime, I encourage you to fill out the assessment table to help you identify which protective factors are present or lacking in your workplace, and thus if it is a psychologically healthy environment. The results are anonymous and will be sent to your union team. Happy 2018 OHS Week!