Our ability to deliver safe, high-quality care and service depends on the health and safety of our teams. Nova Scotia Health Authority is committed to providing safe work environments for the more than 30,000 employees, physicians, learners and volunteers who work in our facilities and communities.
In October 2015, President & CEO Janet Knox joined other CEOs and senior leaders in the province from various sectors to sign the Nova Scotia Health & Safety Leadership Safety Charter. This charter outlines our commitment to continuous growth of a positive workplace safety culture. You can view the charter at www.nshealth.ca/files/nova-scotia-health-safety-leadership-charter
Nova Scotia Health Authority is focusing energy on the safety issues that are most affecting our employees. Musculoskeletal injuries make up a significant number of the time loss claims reported to Workers’ Compensation Board by the health and community services sectors. In health care, many of these claims are linked to employees manually lifting, transferring or repositioning patients.
The impact of this type of injury is far-reaching. The individual faces limitations to mobility, pain or discomfort, all of which affect those closest to them too. These injuries also result in lost time for the employee, increased workload for their team, and replacement costs.
Safe patient handling contributes to quality care for patients, helping to prevent patient falls, reducing pressure ulcers, and increasing patient satisfaction. Nova Scotia Health Authority, Workers’ Compensation Board, AwareNS, Department of Labour and Advanced Education, and the Health Sector Council, created the Safe Patient Handling and Mobility Program to help prevent musculoskeletal injury. The program is built on the principle that reducing employee injury also improves patient care.
With recent and projected retirements of registered nurses (RN), there is a need to recruit new RN graduates. Before consolidation, previous district health authorities competed for human resources. As one organization, Nova Scotia Health Authority takes a co-ordinated approach to recruiting these employees.
In 2015-16 the organization moved to a centralized application intake process, while still using local interviewing and candidate selection. Through the use of this co-ordinated process, applicants had the opportunity to rank their location preferences. A total of 267 new RN graduates were hired this year.
Working to support greater diversity in the workplace is beneficial for both employees and those we serve.
An important element of creating a more diverse health workforce is encouraging youth from diverse communities to pursue careers in health.
In March 2016, Nova Scotia Health Authority, Native Council of Nova Scotia, Healing Our Nations, Dalhousie Indigenous Health Interest Group, Halifax Regional School Board and Nova Scotia Community College, with support from the IWK Health Centre, partnered to organize the second annual Indigenous Health Career Fair. The event aims to encourage Indigenous youth to pursue a career in health. Nearly 150 students from grades nine to 12 attended.
Two events, called Striving to Build African Nova Scotian Health Professionals for the Future, were held in November 2015. The events drew more than 250 students. They were organized though a partnership with Nova Scotia Health Authority, Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia Community College, Association of Black Social Workers and Halifax Regional School Board, were also supported by the IWK Health Centre. Plans are underway to host similar events across the province in the future.
“At the end of the day, we all want the same thing. We want to keep patients moving and we want to keep everybody safe. The safe patient handling and mobility program is allowing us to do that.” – LEE BOYLE, PHYSIOTHERAPIST, ST. MARTHA’S REGIONAL HOSPITAL