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Advisor, Research on Reporting Workplace Violence in Acute Psychiatry

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Open to Fraser – Vancouver Coastal, Patient partners in Lower Mainland & Fraser Valley

Last updated

Workplace safety for health care providers in acute mental health settings is a priority for Providence Health Care.  If you are interested in working with researchers to improve the ways nurses report workplace violence events, this may be the opportunity for you.

Open to: Patient partners in Lower Mainland & Fraser Valley

Lead Organization or Department

Providence Health, St. Paul's Hospital Mental Health Program


This research project explores nurses' experiences reporting workplace violence in an acute psychiatric setting, with the specific aim of identifying factors that make reporting easy or challenging. Patient partners will advise research team and contribute their perspective and experiences within the health care system.

Level of Engagement

This opportunity is at the level of involve on the spectrum of engagement. The promise to you is that the health care partner will involve patients in planning and design phases to ensure ideas or concerns are considered and reflected in alternatives and recommendations.  


  • Experience as a patient or family member with inpatient psychiatry. Preference is for a care experience at either St. Paul’s or Mount Saint Joseph Hospitals in Vancouver.
  • Experience working in a group and participating in discussion
  • Some familiarity with research would be an asset
If you have a strong interest in this work but have not yet completed a PVN orientation and volunteer agreement, are unsure if your experience is a good fit or feel another format of engagement would work better with your availability, please contact the engagement leader directly.


Number of vacancies: 2 Frequency: Meetings will be held at St. Paul's Hospital in downtown Vancouver during business hours Monday to Friday. Meetings will be 1 hour, with the frequency changing according to the stage of research (e.g. when we are developing the questionnaire and completing interviews the need will increase). The average will be once a month, and 2-3 times a month at most. Commitment: It is anticipated that the work will take one year to complete. Consultation with patient/family partners will likely take place in Dec 2018/early Jan 2019  The final report will be published the end of 2019. Participation can be in-person, or via teleconference with communication via email between meetings.


Expenses related to travel (e.g. transit, parking up to $18/day, approved mileage up to 60 km each way) to attend meetings will be reimbursed by Providence Health Care.


This project is taking place as part of Providence Health's Research Challenge program. Despite growing awareness of workplace violence, it continues to be underreported in part due to the current state of safety reporting systems. In British Columbia, hospitals use two unique portals – the Patient Safety Learning System (PSLS) and the Workplace Health Call Centre (WHCC) – to track events impacting patient versus staff safety, respectively. These systems are siloed and lack an integrated design, often requiring duplicate reports of a single event. Studies suggest nurses are deterred from reporting due to inadequate incident follow-up, lack of tangible change, and the belief that violence is part of the job. A quality improvement initiative was conducted on an inpatient psychiatric unit at St. Paul's Hospital tracking the occurrence of physical, verbal, and other violent-related incidents. Using a paper-based tool, staff recorded 1555 violent events between August 2017 and April 2018. Of these events, only 0.007% were reported in PSLS. This small study highlights both the substantial gap in violence reporting as well as the importance of reporting tools in supporting change. The purpose of this study is to explore nurses' experiences of reporting in an acute psychiatric setting, with the specific aim of identifying perceived facilitators and barriers to reporting. Research Question(s) and/or Hypotheses
  1. What are nurses’ experiences of WPV reporting in an acute psychiatric setting?
  2. What do nurses perceive as facilitators and barriers to reporting WPV incidents?
The research team includes two point-of-care nurses, a clinical nurse leader, a clinical nurse educator, administrative support staff, two clinical nurse specialists, and one research mentor. The research team has identified that there is a risk of re-traumatization by asking nurses and patients to tell the stories of their experiences in inpatient psychiatry or hearing others stories. There will be an emotional check in before and after each meeting.

Health Care Partner Contact Information

Karen Estrin
Engagement Leader, Patient and Public Engagement | Lower Mainland & Sunshine Coast

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