Era Mae Ferron is a registered nurse. She has worked as a nurse in adult cardiology, community care, and as an education coordinator in mental health. She completed her PhD in nursing at the University of Toronto. Her research interests are strategic health human resources retention – specifically, understanding the factors that encourage nurses to stay in their current job. Her thesis is entitled: “Part-time nurse faculty intent to remain employed in the academic organization”. For the last 2 years, Era Mae has worked in the field of occupational health and safety – first with the Institute for Work & Health and now with the Public Services Health & Safety Association. Her work has focused on workplace violence prevention in healthcare. Currently, she is the Project Lead of PSHSA’s Ontario-wide initiative to prevent and manage workplace violence in the acute care, long-term care and community care sectors.


Introduction: Worldwide, workplace violence (WPV) is an occupational health and safety hazard for healthcare workers with both short-term (e.g., acute trauma/injury) and long-term (e.g., psychosocial) effects. In Canada, out of 34 occupations, nursing had the second highest number of work days lost due to WPV in 2011. The Public Services Health & Safety Association is leading an Ontario partnership with employers and labour to develop a healthcare workplace violence prevention toolkit.
The Project: The 3-phase project is heavily driven by stakeholder engagement. The primary goal is to deliver a model and toolkit that provides workplaces a consistent, consensus-based and validated approach that is scalable. While the focus is on healthcare, the intent is to have a toolkit that can be implemented in non-healthcare sectors as well. Phase 1 includes: a literature review; jurisdictional scan and; focus groups with frontline staff, managers/supervisors and senior management. Phase 2 includes: determination of a priority list of WPV program components; implementation of a communications plan, and; a pilot test of the all toolkit priority areas. Phase 3 will involve knowledge mobilization; implementation of the communications plan to secondary stakeholders; development and implementation of an education session, and; implementation of the toolkit.
Results: Phase 1 of the project has been completed. Currently, the project is in Phase 2. Using the findings from phase 1, the steering committee reached consensus on five priority areas: organizational risk assessment, individual client risk assessment, flagging, security and personal safety response system. The five toolkits are ready for pilot testing in acute care, long-term care and community care facilities across Ontario. Pilot testing will begin in the summer of 2015, led by Institute for Work & Health researchers.
Discussion: Once the toolkits have been pilot tested and revised based on focus group and survey findings, it is anticipated that the final versions will be ready to use across healthcare facilities. The toolkits will provide workplaces with validated resources and solutions that sustainably reduce the incidents of violence across Ontario’s healthcare sector. WPV is a serious health and safety concern for workers and patients alike. Organizations require evidence-based solutions for minimizing the negative impacts of violence. This project will help fill the current gap between knowledge and evidence available across various healthcare sectors by providing optimal solutions to prevent and manage WPV.
Lessons Learned: Participants will learn what the key priorities for preventing and managing WPV are and the tools developed to date to address this occupational hazard.