The healthcare community members make up a significantly lucrative section of the economy and work selflessly to ensure the well-being of the entire society. Their service and sacrifice call for recognition. Despite their unending sacrifice, health workers like nurses, doctors, and other healthcare practitioners like support and administration still face discrimination and unfairness.
Some of them face various forms of harassment in their respective workplaces, necessitating the need for their protection. It is a global responsibility to ensure the safety of all health workers and create a robust healthcare system for the benefit of everybody. There are several ways to achieve that.
Check out some sure-fire ways to protect your healthcare workers.
1. Collect Necessary Data To Protect Healthcare Workers
The safety of healthcare workers should start from the top with data-driven solid systems. You should have access to data that will help you surge your healthcare workers and forecast the need for personal protective equipment for them. Proper healthcare identity verification can help you achieve that. The data should quickly tell you who needs vaccination and at what time. Always ensure that the data is up to date for both old and incoming healthcare team members if you want to protect each of them effectively.
2. Mind Their Psychological and Mental Health Well-Being
Mental stability is critical for any healthcare worker to be productive and to be able to save lives. Protecting the mental health of your health service team will require keen consideration as some may not speak out for themselves. Below are some practical ways to protect health workers’ mental well-being.
- Establish policies and guidelines that ensure appropriate and fair working hours, deployment durations, and rest breaks. Also, minimize the administrative burden upon the healthcare team.
- Maintain appropriate, safe, and well-defined levels of staffing in the healthcare facility.
- Provide your healthcare workers with work-related insurance covers, especially if they are working in areas of high risk.
- Establish open communication to create a just and blame-free working environment. An excellent way to reinforce this is by having administrative and legal protection from punitive action in case of adverse safety events.
- Let your healthcare workers access social support and mental well-being services, including lessons on balancing their life and work. It would also help to offer advice on risk assessment and mitigation to all health workers.
3. Provide Them with Violence-Free Working Environment
Health workers will be more productive if they operate in a peaceful environment without fear of violence. Here are some ways to protect your healthcare team from violence in their workplace.
- Adopt and implement relevant policies per the national law that helps in the elimination of violence in the health sector.
- Instill and promote a culture that does not tolerate any form of violence against health workers.
- Ensure effective implementation of all the policies and regulations to ensure maximum safety of the healthcare team.
- Review legislation and labor laws and, if necessary, introduce more specific legislation to prevent violence against health workers.
- Establish a free and confidential channel for healthcare workers to report incidents of violence in their workplaces. You can implement relevant mechanisms like toll-free helplines.
4. Implement Programs for Occupational Health and Safety
Develop, implement, and encourage your healthcare workers to attend occupational health and safety programs. Implement the programs in line with the National health safety policies. The following steps will help effect these programs.
- Review the existing National occupational laws and safety regulations and upgrade where necessary. You can improve them to include regulatory protection for the health and safety of health workers at their workstations.
- Develop codes of practice, standards, and guidelines on occupational health and safety.
- Encourage team collaboration within the various sectors held by your healthcare workers to promote health practitioner and patient safety. Strengthen management representation and health worker collaboration; encourage collaboration with gender, occupational groups, and diversity representatives.
5. Protect From Discrimination and Sexual Harassment
All health workers, men and women need a secure and decent working environment. You can provide such an environment for your health workers by implementing policies that address gender-based violence and discrimination.
In addition, have regulations in place to address any cases of sexual harassment against healthcare workers irrespective of gender. However, the most crucial part is ensuring the guidelines and policies are implemented at all levels in the healthcare workplace.
6. Give Health Workers a Chance To Advocate for Themselves
Allow your team of healthcare workers to have representatives in solid unions and advocacy groups where they can freely air their grievances. Suppose they do not have a platform to express themselves, or you do not listen to their cries. You are most likely going to experience strikes, which could be devastating to the healthcare sector. The strikes often leave society without access to health services or lifesaving care.
In addition, train the team leaders on negotiation skills which will help resolve labor disputes amicably even in the advocacy unions. It will also enable them to navigate the internal workings of governance and policies and protect their junior health workers from exploitation.
7. Provide PPE and Vaccinations
Healthcare practitioners are at significant risk of contracting various infections while handling patients. Therefore, they need all the necessary protective gear according to the departments and patients they manage. Investing in personal protective equipment will protect your health workers from infections and make them more effective in their duties.
Also, in the case of an outbreak, you need to prioritize your healthcare team for vaccinations. If your team includes community health workers, have them in the program as often as they are left out of formal healthcare programs. Vaccinating health workers protect them from infections and prevent them from infecting their patients should they have any infectious disease.
To Wrap Up
Healthcare workers’ health, sanity, and safety are significant for the well-being of an entire society. Investing in their safety and security at the workplace can save a country or facility time, money, and stress. Providing them with a peaceful working environment is a significant reward for their selfless services as it gives them a sense of security.