What You Do Matters: Passing on Knowledge

November 18, 2019 | News

For Jessica Michalchuk, taking SafeCare BC’s Violence Prevention course was a no-brainer.

At the time, she was a clinical practice coordinator at Haven Hill Retirement Centre, in Penticton. She wanted to brush up on her skills and techniques and the course was a perfect fit.

“What I loved about it was the skills you learn, so you never have to use the physical preventative moves,” she says. “I enjoyed learning the de-escalation techniques and the interactive activities about how to communicate with someone who might be escalating.”

“Whether you’ve been on the job for a week or you’ve been in it for 25 years, there’s absolutely something that everyone can take away from it.”

The main reason she took the course was so that she could share this knowledge with her peers. She often sees coworkers getting injured on the job or hears about the same thing happening at other workplaces, so she started asking herself why this was happening.

“I’ve always thought there has to be a better way,” says Michalchuk. “Something happened that led to them being injured and, if we could figure out why that is, then we can try to avoid it from happening.”

Since she took the violence prevention course, Michalchuk has switched roles and now works as a practical nursing coordinator at Sprott Shaw College. She’s able to pass on her knowledge from the course, as well as her other experiences, to young students about to enter the care sector.

“I’m hoping that these students go into the workforce on the right foot,” says Michalchuk. “My hope is that they’re not going to get an injury and have some of those negative experiences that some healthcare providers have.”

Even though she’s moved on to a teaching role, she still occasionally returns to her previous employer at Haven Hill, teaching the staff about violence prevention.

“It’s been great, because we had staff there who were very experienced,” she says. “But every one of them said that they came out of the session having learned something new, or refreshed their knowledge, and brought that back to the unit, which is great to see.”

Michalchuk is still on a mission to help improve working conditions for those in the continuing care sector.
She sees high injury rates, yet recognizes there is always more that can be done to improve.

“We’re dealing with people who are sick,” says Michalchuk. “We’re dealing with people who are cognitively impaired, but if we come to the situation with knowledge and understanding, we can help prevent some of the negative outcomes.”

Learn more about our Peer Facilitator Program. If you or a member of your staff is interested in becoming a Peer Facilitator, contact Jenn Lesage at jlesage@safecarebc.ca. Please note that 2020 dates for the program have not yet been set.