Craig Harris—Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention

Written by Evan Duxbury

How did you end up where you are now?
I was born in Perth where I obtained my degree in physiotherapy. I worked for a few years between Canada and Australia through a variety of clinical settings. In 2006 I was hired to the Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention (MSIP) team at Vancouver Coastal Health before coming over to Providence in 2010.

What’s your role at PHC?
I advise and consult with people across the organization in the aim of decreasing musculoskeletal injuries, which are the most common type of injuries we see in health care. The role can get into very specific assessments of people, environments and equipment to ensure they’re operating as safely as possible or be as broad as developing education strategies and supporting province-wide projects.

If there’s one thing you’d like people to know about your work, what would it be?
That it’s easier to prevent than remediate. We often get called in after an incident to try and fix things, which can often be very difficult. However, if we’re involved earlier, as early as the equipment purchasing decision, or the restructuring of a department, we can provide our expertise to advise what will be safest for staff when changes are still relatively easy to make.

What’s the best part of your job?
I love the variety in my role. I work across seven sites in both clinical and non-clinical settings which allows me to work on solving a wide array of problems. This also allows me to see how solutions in one area can be applied to others, which can be quite interesting.

How does your role differ from your counterparts at other health authorities?
PHC is smaller, which allows me to access decision makers directly. This, combined with the flexibility and autonomy I have in my role, gives me a greater chance to make an impact in staff and patient safety. Part of being small is having sites that are geographically close together. As a result, I spend more time in our acute and residential areas than my counterparts, meaning that my role is much more hands on.

If you could change one thing about your job what would it be?
People’s perception that working safely is slower. Most of the time, staff know how to be safe, but they choose to do otherwise to save time. Our staff do an excellent job putting patient safety first, but with a small shift in mindset, we could drastically improve staff safety.

What attracted you to Providence Health Care?
I’ve really enjoyed the sense of teamwork here at Providence. There are no organizational barriers, so I often find myself working toward the same staff and patient safety goals as other people from all areas and backgrounds.

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