The mental health of health care workers: Working conditions and patterns of service use

The well-being of health care workers and a healthy work environment are critical components of an effective health care system. According to the Workers’ Compensation Board of BC approximately 40% of all violence related claims come from health care workers. In a survey of St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, 66% of employees had experienced physical assault in the previous year. Despite the increasing recognition of the severity and impact of violence in the workplace, there have been few studies that have investigated the impact of workplace strategies and interventions that mitigate violence in the workforce. Rakel Kling is examining the overall effectiveness of a violence-reduction intervention in the health care industry. Her research is specifically investigating the rate of violence-related incidents among health care workers at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) over a five year period and examining the differences in rates by year and unit type. She is also examining whether there is a reduction in healthcare worker injuries as a result of the implementation of a new patient risk assessment system. Results from Rakel’s research will help guide policy and program decisions surrounding violence prevention measures at VGH and ultimately other hospitals and health care facilities in the province.