Happy New Year from all of us at SWITCH BC!

News and Media Centre  SWITCH BC News  

Happy New Year from all of us at SWITCH BC!

In 2024, I am making you and me a priority.

I’ve been a health leader and a health worker for most of my adult life. I am also a partner and mother, a sister, a boss, a friend, and an optimist. Not necessarily all at once.

At work, and at home I put everyone else first, an occupational hazard for many of us in healthcare.

While empathy makes us great at caring for people; we don’t – often enough – look after our own needs.

When I look at the health sector, I see that psychological safety and physical safety (due to violent threats and actions) are two of the biggest challenges in workplaces. If they are unaddressed, we will see people leave the sector and/or discourage others from joining the health workforce. We need more people working in healthcare, and we need to keep everyone healthier and safer on the job.

In 2024, SWITCH BC with our union, physician, and employer partners will update the violence prevention training program called the Provincial Violence Prevention Curriculum (PVPC). The new training program will be trauma-informed and culturally safe, and it will be the beginning of a provincial violence prevention strategy. As many as 1 in 2 healthcare workers have faced verbal and physical violence at work in the past year. It’s unacceptable and we know training is just one way to support health teams. We are committed to developing a broad program, and we have all the right partners at our Board table helping us make meaningful changes.

We are also rolling out the OHS Resource Centre. It’s a digital platform for the 500+ Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committees (JOHSC), an advisory table of union and employer representatives who address workplace health and safety issues. The OHS Resource Centre simplifies meeting and committee management and, with a digital record and notifications, ensures incidents and investigations are tracked and recommendations are made to employers as we work together to enhance a culture of health and safety in healthcare.

And we are co-creating, with Doctors of BC, a Community Physician Health and Safety program. The program will help community physicians and their staff quickly and thoroughly navigate their workplace health and safety responsibilities and allow them to focus on patient care instead of administrative duties.

It’s an ambitious year with a staff of fewer than 20. And some days, we are just like most of you working across the health system do, we are stretched and tired. Knowing how important the work is, inspires us to keep at it, knowing that in whatever way we can, we want to hold you up as you do the important work you do in healthcare. At SWITCH BC, we’re lucky that we have strong core values around balance, holding each other up, and taking time to recharge. Some weeks are definitely better than others, and we rely on our teammates to remind us of our promise to each other.

I am wishing everyone working in healthcare and their families a happy, healthy, and safe 2024. Let’s care for the people who care for us by making ourselves a priority in 2024.

Victoria Schmid