Supporting our nurses and midwives
The impact of workplace violence and aggression is a global problem confronting all health care workers. Nurses and midwives, at the forefront of health care delivery, are the largest health care group exposed to occupational violence (OV).
In the ACT Government context, OV is defined as any action, incident or behaviour that departs from reasonable conduct in which causes a person to be assaulted, threatened, harmed, or injured during, or as a direct result of their work where the workplace also includes remote, community or home-based sites. It also includes abuse through technology (text, emails, and phone calls).
The fundamental rights of nurses and midwives, to be safe and protected, is a priority for the ACT Government. ACT Health is also committed to improving workplace safety and continued compliance with legislated responsibility to protect workers and others from harm.
Towards a Safer Culture Strategy
In order to address the issue of safety across the nursing and midwifery professions the ACT Government launched its ambitious Nurses and Midwives: Towards a Safer Culture (TASC) Strategy (the Strategy) in December 2018.
This Strategy is led by ACT Health and encompasses Canberra Health Services. Key stakeholder engagement from organisations such as the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) has successfully progressed development of the Strategy.
The Strategy outlines a vision of an ACT public health care system where staff, patients and visitors are protected from harm and feel safe at all times. The Strategy makes recommendations for creating a safer and healthier environment for all staff and persons who enter ACT public health workplaces.
The Strategy sought to address the problem on multiple fronts using 22 priority actions with the assumption being these actions would cumulatively work towards the desired impact of reducing incidents of OV, bullying and/or harassment experienced by nurses and midwives in ACT public health workplaces.
The Strategy has made an important contribution to increasing peoples understanding of OV and maintaining focus on the impact of OV on nurses and midwives. In particular the deliverables from multiple priority actions has raised awareness among staff and in the community, delivered a range of resources and guidelines, and resulted in the implementation of the Safewards Trial in the ACT project.
In the provision of public healthcare in the ACT, ACT Health, Canberra Health Services, including the University of Canberra Hospital (UCH) and North Canberra Hospital (formerly Calvary Public Hospital Bruce) are all committed to improving workplace safety. Together we are implementing various initiatives and strategies and addressing continued compliance with our legislated responsibility to protect workers and others from harm.
Informed by the work of the NM TASC Steering Committee and Advisory Group, the Strategy provides a foundation for positive cultural change within ACT health care settings to reduce harm to staff, patients and visitors.
Where are we at?
The four pillars
The four pillars for the Strategy were based on broad areas for action and implementation. Current and completed work under the Strategy’s four pillars includes: