A Feasibility Study to Develop Integrated Training for Safe Patient Handling and Workplace Violence for Healthcare Workers Using a Participatory Approach

Principal Investigator: Alicia Kurowski, Sc.D, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Workplace violence (WPV)- perpetrated by patients and/ or their visitors-towards healthcare workers (HCWs) is a problem that impacts healthcare delivery, but there is limited evidence on the impact of WPV prevention interventions. From 2002-2013, HCWs' WPV injuries were four times greater than workers in private industry (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Beech and Leather (2006) reported that WPV impacts victims psychologically and physiologically and impacts their families and co-workers. Safe Patient Handling (SPH) programs have not traditionally been evaluated for WPV prevention. However a prior study found a 12% reduction in compensation claims for 'aggression' six years post-intervention, suggesting that SPH may be a vehicle for WPV prevention (Kurowski, 2017). Thus the goal of the -proposed research is to reduce injuries and associated effects on well-being, using participatory approaches to develop and assess feasibility of training with integrated SPH and WPV content.

Co-Principal Investigators: Audrey Murph-Brown, PhD, MTA Division of Training/Professional Learning and Scott Fulmer, MS, UMass Lowell Biomedical Engineering Department (and MTA EH&S committee).

This project intends to identify and mitigate ways in which health is compromised by experiences of racism in the workplace among Educators of Color (EOC). This will be done through focus groups and workshop development for EOC and local leadership of the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA). The knowledge gained from this pilot study will be used to develop educational workshops for MTA local associations, and to develop social and racial justice language for collective bargaining agreements. The project aspires to address serious problems of job stress and teacher retention for EOC in Massachusetts public schools.