Slonowsky, Dean

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    Ignite your strengths: Resilience education for firefighters
    (Crisis, Stress, and Human Resilience: An International Journal, 2023-12) Blaney, Leigh; Spriggs, Geoffrey; Lumley, Joshua; Agyekum, Eric; Slonowsky, Dean; Macdonald, Anna
    This study took an innovative approach to design, develop and test a health promoting resilience education workshop for paid-on-call (POC) firefighters and explored the following questions: (1) Is a resilience education workshop effective for building and maintaining resilience in volunteer firefighters? (2) How do firefighters define and experience resilience? (3) What are the strategies that firefighters use to build and maintain resilience? Firefighters attended a resilience education workshop, and mixed methods were used to explore the complexity of resilience and address the research questions. Participants were asked to complete questionnaires pre-education (Pre-Ed), immediately following the education (Post-Ed), and two months following the education (2 Month Post-Ed). We found that prior to education, firefighters are moderately resilient, as measured using the Resilience Scale (RS) and Resilience at Work (R@W) Scale. Resilience scores on both scales demonstrated statistically significant increases immediately following a resilience education workshop. Qualitative data indicates that firefighters have a wide array of health strategies for building and maintaining their resilience that were further enhanced through experiential education. The workshop introduced new resilience strategies that were integrated into the firefighters’ ‘toolbox’ of cognitive and behavioural skills and these strategies continued to be utilized over time. The results of this study indicate that resilience education should be integrated into organizational health and safety policies. The multiple tools and analyses used in this study support the overal findings that resilience education workshops are an effective tool to be used in a broader wellness context for firefighters.
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    Strengthening the indomitable spirit of nurses: Piloting targeted resilience education
    (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2022-12) Blaney, Leigh; Abbey, Darin; Zhang, Kelly; Pollard, Emmerson; Agyekum, Eric; Slonowsky, Dean; Macdonald, Anna
    This pilot project aimed to test the effectiveness of a resilience education program for nurses. Building & sustaining a strong foundation of resilience & well-being are key for nurses to maintain mental health, cope with work-related stressors, & effectively respond to various work (& life) challenges.
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    Building resilience in volunteer firefighters: Bridging the research to practice gap
    (WorkSafeBC, 2021-01) Blaney, Leigh; Spriggs, Geoffrey; Lumley, Joshua; Sadlemyer, Jessica; Agyekum, Eric; Slonowsky, Dean
    There are approximately 14,000 firefighters in British Columbia (BC); notably, over 10,000 are volunteers or paid-on-call. The volunteer fire rescue services (FRS) globally tend to be vastly under-resourced in terms of equipment, apparatus, and training yet the volunteer FRS are the life-blood of the majority of communities in BC. The FRS is considered a high-risk profession in relation to physical and psychological hazards faced by firefighters as part of their job. Volunteer FRS are challenged to maintain an engaged volunteer membership when the work of firefighters is unpredictable, risky, and takes time away from family, work, and other obligations. Given the multitude of ongoing stressors faced by firefighters, it has become evident that attention must be paid to the mental health of firefighters. However, when assets are scarce and require prioritizing, services to preserve healthy minds are often backgrounded to seemingly more critical choices of gear, equipment, and apparatus. Hence volunteer firefighters are often disadvantaged when it comes to information, education, and initiatives for mental health. The purpose of this research was to create, present, and evaluate the effectiveness of a resilience education programme for volunteer firefighters.