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 the Paramedic Community address?

There are 15 psychosocial factors assessed by Caring for the Paramedic Community. 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 were developed specifically for paramedics and are included as part of the Psychological Health and Safety in the Paramedic Service Organization Standard.

For each of the factors, lower scores indicate greater risk to worker psychological health and organizational psychological safety; higher scores indicate greater worker 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 and Social Support A PSO work environment where coworkers and leaders are supportive of workers’ psychological and mental health concerns and respond appropriately as needed.

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

Clear Leadership and Expectations A PSO work environment where there is effective leadership and support that helps workers 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 PSO workers are respectful and considerate in their interactions with one another, as well as with patients, family members and the public.

Psychological Job Demands A PSO work environment where the aspects of positions that may negatively impact workers' psychological health and well-being are assessed and addressed in job design and organizational change. Recruitment, training and promotion decisions recognize the importance of interpersonal competencies.

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

Recognition and Reward A PSO work environment where there is appropriate acknowledgement and appreciation of workers' efforts in a fair and timely manner.

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

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

Engagement A PSO work environment where workers feel connected to their work and are motivated to do their job well.

Balance A PSO work environment where there is acceptance of the need for a sense of harmony between the demands of personal life, family and work.

Psychological Protection A PSO work environment where the psychological safety of workers is ensured.

Protection of Physical Safety Workers' psychological safety is protected from physical risks in the PSO environment.

Other Chronic Stressors as Identified by Workers A PSO work environment that monitors and mitigates ongoing exposure to stressful situations.

Cumulative Exposure to Critical or Stressful Events A PSO work environment which monitors the frequency and severity of paramedic exposure to critical events in order to determine the cumulative impact. The organization then takes action to mitigate the associated risks.