The study proposes to address priorities outlined by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in PAR-09-139, Occupational Safety and Health Research, specifically by developing and piloting a workplace violence prevention intervention for nursing staff in psychiatric hospital settings. Direct care providers in psychiatric settings are at risk because of work setting characteristics that increase their exposure to workplace violence. Although the prevalence of workplace violence in psychiatric settings is well documented, few violence prevention interventions have been designed to address organization of work and work-life intergration based on scientifically sound evidence. To address this critical gap in the knowledge base, the overall goal of the proposed study is to assess workplace practices and policies, workplace violence, and employee health and safety, family and work outcomes. We will use a collaborative approach to develop and pilot work redesign and psychosocial workplace interventions to prevent workplace violence while enhancing employee well-being. Our objectives are to: (1) determine the prevalence, risk and protective factors related to workplace violence in psychiatric direct care providers, (2) collaboratively develop strategies to prevent workplace violence from patient to provider and from provider to provider using qualitative and quantitative methods. The study will have two phases. In phase one, the team will determine the prevalence of and risk factors for workplace violence with measures of prevention behaviors at work, work schedule redesign patterns, incidents of workplace violence and incivility, health, family, and work/organizational outcomes. Phase one employee assessments include survey interviews of direct care providers and their immediate supervisors in two psychiatric hospitals. The findings from phase one will then be used by our intervention development team of key management, union and employee stakeholders in phase two to develop and pilot a workplace violence prevention intervention with supervisory nurses and direct care providers. A process evaluation will document the details of the intervention development, and pilot implementation. This study will advance knowledge by providing a model for participatory intervention development and by piloting a prevention intervention that can be evaluated with a rigorous scientific design in psychiatric settings to improve direct care provider and supervisory safety and health practices, and employee health, family, and work outcomes.
This study will provide evidence necessary to challenge existing paradigms of workplace violence prevention and will advance innovative approaches to developing collaborative, organizational, and systems-oriented interventions targeted at preventing workplace violence and improving direct care provider safety and health at work and at home.