1. Understand the psychosocial factors

What are psychosocial factors?

Psychosocial factors are elements that impact employees' psychological responses to work and work conditions, potentially causing psychological health problems. Psychosocial factors include the way work is carried out (deadlines, workload, work methods) and the context in which work occurs (including relationships and interactions with managers and supervisors, colleagues, patients, family members or visitors).

What psychosocial factors does Caring for Healthcare Workers address?

There are 15 psychosocial factors assessed by Caring for Healthcare Workers. 13 of these factors are based on the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard). In addition, two new factors have been included here as being of particular relevance for the healthcare work experience based on consultation with national experts and a review of the relevant research.

For each of the factors, lower scores indicate greater risk to employee psychological health and organizational psychological safety; higher scores indicate greater employee and organizational resilience and sustainability. The factors are interrelated and therefore influence one another; positive or negative changes in one factor are likely to change other factors in a similar manner.

Psychological Support: A healthcare work environment where coworkers and leaders are supportive of staffs’ psychological and mental health concerns and respond appropriately as needed.

Organizational Culture: A healthcare work environment characterized by trust, honesty and fairness.

Clear Leadership and Expectations: A healthcare work environment where there is effective leadership and support that helps staff to know what they need to do, how their work contributes to the organization, and whether there are impending changes.

Civility and Respect: A work environment where healthcare staff are respectful and considerate in their interactions with one another, as well as with patients, family and visitors.

Psychological Job Fit: A work environment where there is good fit between the interpersonal and emotional competencies of healthcare staff and the requirements of the position they hold.

Growth and Development: A healthcare work environment where staff receive encouragement and support in the development of their interpersonal, emotional and job skills.

Recognition and Reward: A healthcare work environment where there is appropriate acknowledgement and appreciation of staff’s efforts in a fair and timely manner.

Involvement and Influence: A healthcare work environment where staff are included in discussions about how their work is done and how important decisions are made.

Workload Management: A healthcare work environment where tasks and responsibilities can be accomplished successfully within the time available.

Engagement: A healthcare work environment where staff feel connected to their work and are motivated to do their job well.

Balance: A healthcare work environment where there is recognition of the need for balance between the demands of work, family and personal life

Psychological Protection: A healthcare work environment where the psychological safety of staff is ensured.

Protection of Physical Safety: A work environment where management takes appropriate action to protect the physical safety of healthcare staff.

Protection from Moral Distress: A healthcare work environment where staff are able to do their work with a sense of integrity that is supported by their profession, employer and peers.

Support for Psychological Self-Care: A healthcare workplace where staff are encouraged to care for their own psychological health and safety.

Guarding Minds at Work