Contributed by Christine Sorensen, BC Nurses Union. Christine shares how they are implementing organization-wide support for mental health of staff, and why gratitude is so important. Read on: 

The BC Nurses’ Union is excited to join with the BC Patient Safety Quality Council as a partner in their 2017 Change Day BC campaign. BCNU represents over 47,000 nurses and other health care workers. We believe that small positive changes, through our individual pledges, can contribute to healthier and better workplaces for nurses, co-workers, patients and their families. Together, we can make change happen on a large scale.

For 2017 Change Day, BCNU’s regional Mental Health and Occupational Health and Safety representatives and Lobby Coordinators will be reaching out to our members throughout the province. We’ll have Change Day materials to distribute to health care settings across the province. Our message:

This Change Day on November 17, 2017, I will be a BCNU Champion for Change. In my workplace:

I am grateful for….

I pledge to contribute to positive change in my workplace by……

Why gratitude? Gratitude is appreciation for what we have. It’s unconditional with no strings attached. Cultivating gratitude, making that extra effort, is linked to increased happiness and well-being in the workplace. It begins with simple gestures, including thank-yous and smiles. Skeptics may question this approach to change, but research supports it. Change Day can have a massive ripple effect. Change Day 2015 saw 8,000 pledges for positive change across BC. This year, let’s see what we can do with nurses joining in!

Change Day is a great way to acknowledge the importance of healthy work environments. BCNU has been leading the way to make health care settings healthier for nurses and their patients. In our 2016 collective bargaining agreement, BCNU successfully advocated for mandatory enactment of the Canadian Psychological Health and Safety Standard – a first in Canada. The Standard consists of 13 workplace factors that impact the quality of patient care and nurses’ health and well-being. Supportive leadership, adequate resources, civility and respect – are just a few of those factors that contribute to healthy workplaces.