‘Respect’ training helps to raise awareness on code of conduct, bullying, and workplace violence

A new hospital-wide training program is helping to educate staff, physicians and volunteers at Rouge Valley Health System (RVHS) on how to recognize the signs of bullying and workplace violence.

The Respect in the Workplace/Bullying Awareness training, led by Rouge Valley’s organizational learning and occupational health and safety teams, was first introduced as a pilot project at RVHS in July and August 2012. At that time, organizational learning focused their first sessions on the diagnostic imaging and lab departments at both hospital campuses.

Since then, the program has gone hospital-wide, with more than 1,500 staff, physicians and volunteers at Rouge Valley’s two hospital campuses in east Toronto and west Durham Region taking the one-hour mandatory training sessions. The second round of training sessions began in November, continuing into December. An online training module is also being developed for staff members who were unable to attend the in-class sessions. The goal is to have all staff, physicians and volunteers at Rouge Valley trained by early 2013.

“This education program is a graduation from our original ARC (Accountability, Respect and Care) program, with a focus on our code of conduct, violence in the workplace, and bullying,” explains Bill Hamilton, manager, organizational learning and development.  “It provides our staff with more awareness on how to recognize when they see this happening, what to do, and who are their support resources to turn to. For example, your manager, human resources, or your union representative, are just a few of the places to turn.”

As Rouge Valley’s human resources department has updated the hospital’s current policies on respect in the workplace and code of conduct into one policy, educating staff on these policies is how the training was initially developed.

“Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Bill 168 relates specifically to workplace violence. There is a requirement for organizations to give training and help raise awareness on this issue among their employees. It requires organizations to have policies that address it,” explains Mark Richard, manager, occupational health, safety and wellness.

Under the workplace violence and harassment policy, RVHS provides support to staff who either have questions about what to do if they witness workplace violence or bullying, or if they are experiencing it themselves.

Attendance has been high in most sessions. Part of the program’s success is because of support from the senior management and all management levels. Rouge Valley’s organizational learning department has also been able to target specific departments by scheduling sessions for certain floors, allowing managers to support and schedule their staff in these areas, giving them time to leave their units and attend. Each training date offers up to four sessions each day.
So far, the response to the training, and the content itself, has been strong, with staff giving positive feedback. “They’re happy to see a corporate initiative designed at addressing harassment and bullying,” explains Bill.