April 5, 2019

Meet Alison O’Sullivan: Your Workforce Wellbeing Coordinator

It’s a busy day for Alison. Today is the launch of the Emergency Department (ED) Wellbeing Week – a program she helped organise.

“During ED Wellbeing Week, there will be a number of different focus areas. Today, we will have the Therapeutic Relaxation and Enhanced Awareness Training (TREAT) Program, with Jo Gibbs from Alfred Health. This program is a healthcare-specific, self-awareness and mindfulness program we are really excited to have at Northern Health.”

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).

“It’s a great opportunity to celebrate what ED staff do, but also to ensure we are looking after the wellbeing of our staff,” Alison says.

Alison has worked in healthcare for 21 years as an occupational therapist and manager, and with the Department of Health. She has also completed additional studies in health coaching and mindfulness, so has first-hand experience of the demands of the healthcare system.

Alison says her role is “really about giving back to staff – making sure we are supporting them on a day to day basis across a number of different areas.”

She points to the increasing evidence available in the literature about patient outcomes and staff wellbeing.

“If we invest, support and ensure the self-care of our staff is attended to, then patients will ultimately receive better care.”

She says this is an exciting time for wellbeing at Northern Health, with some great offerings that align with our staff wellbeing focus, the overall strategic direction of the People and Culture team and more broadly, Northern Health’s strategic plan.

This includes the additional roll-out of the TREAT program, financial wellbeing seminars, staff massage, education sessions regarding self-care and wellness as part of the organisational capability training program, and partnering with Sleep Fit – an organisation that will provide evidence-based sleep hygiene education and an online platform to support staff around managing sleep and fatigue.

The ‘Northern Health Psychological Wellbeing Framework’ has three areas of focus: Protection, Prevention and Intervention – protecting mental health of workers, promoting wellbeing, and intervention to address mental health concerns.

“We are bringing in evidence-based programs – some initiatives are hospital-wide, others target particular areas of the hospital,” Alison says.

Alison is keen to find champions in each area who will partner with her, working as a team to listen and meet staff needs.

“I’m very keen on feedback from staff – what’s important to them and what can help them thrive at work and be the best version of themselves.”

Alison has one last request. She would like your input in re-branding the Wellbeing Program at Northern Health by completing a short survey.

By completing the survey, you enter the draw to win a Fit Bit.