April 8, 2019

Emergency Department Wellbeing Week

Our Emergency Department at Northern Hospital is currently the busiest in Victoria, providing care for over 100,000 patients a year.

We have a dedicated and hardworking team of doctors, nurses, allied health and other support services, who work tireless hours caring for our community. These demanding hours often mean our Emergency Department staff forget to take time out for themselves and practice self-care.

Ensuring those that work in healthcare are healthy and well themselves is crucial to the health of our communities, patient outcomes and sustainable practice.

Northern Health Emergency Department is proud to participate in the International Emergency Management Wellness Week 2019. Northern Health will be running this from Friday, 5 April to Thursday, 11 April. Wellness Week #IEMWell19, is a collaboration between the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), WraP EM, Australian College of Emergency Medicine (ACEM), and the College of Emergency Nursing Australia (CENA). The week will remind all emergency staff and their colleagues to take time to self-renew and make a conscious effort to become more healthy, to avoid burning out during the year.

The week began with a Therapeutic Relaxation and Enhanced Awareness Training (TREAT) Program, run by Jo Gibbs from Alfred Health who had this to say –”Rest and recovery is really about allowing staff to recover their nervous system, it’s about fatigue management, it’s about self-compassion and it’s just a way of creating a space so they can slow down, recover and then go back to the workplace feeling a lot more calm and having a lot more ease in the body.”

Clinical Nurse Specialist, Hannah Downie, took part in the session on Friday and said, “I feel relaxed and almost energised by the session and it’s just a really nice experience to have after a heavy ED shift.”

Dr Rachael Coutts, Associate Director, Medical Education and Emergency Physician, says Emergency Department Wellness Week #IEMWell19 is an opportunity to reflect on what determines our own wellness at work.

“Our work is in a complex environment, with multiple factors impacting on whether we thrive or experience burnout. The shared responsibility for our own wellbeing lies in a synergistic relationship between us, as individuals, our department and our organisation.”

“Cultural and systems changes requires leadership and commitment from the organisation. The values and behaviours of our department need to prioritise wellbeing and recognise its impact on quality and safety. At the same time, we have to look after ourselves and each other.”

Northern Hospital will be running a variety of wellbeing activities throughout the week from rest and recovery sessions, to massages, nutrition and exercise. The week will also feature a visit from our much loved Delta Dogs.

Each day will be centred around a key theme for staff to focus on and implement in their work life.

Workplace Wellbeing Coordinator, Alison O’Sullivan, is excited to be supporting the Emergency Department with implementing their first Wellbeing Week.

“I hope this week will lead the way for us to support other departments to implement initiatives such as this, to ensure staff are taking time for themselves. We are certainly committed to growing the wellbeing offering for staff, with a number of initiatives in progress or planned to be rolled out soon.”

For more information about Wellbeing Week and a calendar of events, please click here.

If you have any ideas for future initiatives within the organisation, please contact the OHS and Wellbeing Team.