Safe patient care supported by strong process and a safe work environment for healthcare teams is deservedly getting all the attention with Safer Every Day.

But what about those whose skills and training demand they spend hours behind computers, such as those who focus on the business side of healthcare and make sure our providers get paid? How do they make a healthy workplace?

“When we think of safety, the focus is on patient safety and the safety of those directly involved with patient care and services and that’s absolutely where the focus should be,” says Nadia Maruschak-Clay, director of Financial Reporting and Operations. “However, safety is everyone’s responsibility and those who sit at desks all day need to be just as aware of potential injuries – eye strain, carpal tunnel and repetitive strain injuries – as anyone directly involved in patient care. We need to make the conscious effort to keep safety top of mind no matter what role we play in healthcare delivery.”

Eight years ago, Saskatoon Health Region’s Financial Services department began to collectively improve their health and safety by stretching together a couple of times a week. About three months ago, the group decided to make the change to a daily stretching session.

“Every day around 2:00 pm, some of us gather at one end of the office and one of the staff members leads us through a set of stretches,” explains Bonny Carr, regional manager for Financial Services. “About thirty to fifty percent of the staff participates and we do it for about five to six minutes.”

Financial Reporting & Operations staff members stretching in the office.

Financial Services staff members stretching in the office.

It seems like a simple thing to start doing, but it’s making a difference.

Carr reports that the staff find the daily stretching sessions beneficial. “They’ve told me that they find it helpful and it re-energizes them,” she says. “We follow some of stretching exercises provided by the Region and what used to be SAHO (now 3S Health) and we mix it up a bit by adding new ones we’ve found online.”

Maruschak-Clay is proud of her team for taking the initiative and time to focus on safety and encourages other office workers in the Region to do the same, and think about how to make their own workplace healthier.

We need to look out for each other and remind each other to take care of ourselves,” says Maruschak-Clay. “Aside from keeping avoidable injuries at bay, feeling like someone cares about your safety really impacts how you feel coming into work in the morning.”

DID YOU KNOW?

The Region’s Occupational Health and Safety team has computer workstation set-up training and desk stretches available on their intranet (InfoNet) page.