August 31, 2020

Staff wellbeing matters in ED

Our Emergency Department (ED) is taking staff wellbeing seriously, with a number of creative and fun initiatives rolling out to ease the everyday challenges.

Dr Kirin Channa, Emergency Physician and ED Quality Lead, explained the ED Wellbeing Committee was formed in 2019, after a staff survey showed what the team would like to do to improve their mental and physical state.

“We started TREAT Rest and Recovery sessions, therapy dogs coming into ED, exercise classes, fruit platters and similar. However, with COVID-19 measures, we had to find some new ways of keeping well,” she said.

The strict COVID-19 measures and the pandemic environment meant coming up with fresh ideas to keep spirits and team morale high.

“Three of the main things we are doing in these pandemic times are providing resistance bands to staff to help them exercise at home, online TREAT sessions and the staff wellbeing wall, Julia Fotiadis has organised ” she said.

The ED wellbeing wall is a place where staff can give a shout out to their colleagues. This has had great feedback so far, with staff coming to the wall at the end of the shift to see the bright and colourful messages from their colleagues.

“Recognition goes a long way and it really helps staff feel motivated. People love reading something new every day about a different staff member,” Dr Channa said.

Julia who is an Associate Nurse Unit Manager and the wellbeing lead in the team, has also developed a recipe book.

“Along with the shout out wall, we also have our ED recipe book. I asked everyone to send me a recipe they love and have compiled it into one book of comfort food and healthy recipes. It’s been a couple of difficult weeks, and keeping on top of our wellbeing is imperative at these times,” she said.

Seham Shahin, Emergency Physiotherapist, added exercise is crucial, and everyone is affected with these lockdown changes.

“For shift workers, the curfew does affect the ability to be outdoors and do what you would usually do. It’s important to find ways we can exercise and get those endorphins and serotonins up. We are linking staff with apps and Youtube videos that show how to use the resistance bands and keep exercising. It’s about giving people different options, as we are all feeling a bit sluggish and run down at this stage,” she said.

To increase social interaction, the team is also implementing “Guess the ED baby” project, where staff are sending a photo of themselves as a baby and the team has to guess who is who, along with the upcoming trivia quiz night for the nursing staff.

Alison O’Sullivan, Workplace Wellbeing Coordinator, is working closely with ED staff to identify and develop the initiatives.

“It has been great to work with the ED team. The ED working group ensures all our approaches are aligned with the strategic direction of the organisation. Some great events and actions have been developed, including regular inclusion of TREAT sessions, now offered virtually, ED Wellbeing Week, and the work the team has done in the reward and recognition space,” she said.

“We look forward to continuing to support the staff in ED and indeed the whole of Northern Health in ‘Conversations on Mental Wellness Week’ which is being held from 7 – 11 September. This will include many of our regular wellbeing offerings and guest speakers, and is available to all staff,” she said.

Please click here to see the ‘Virtual Conversations on Mental Wellness Week’ schedule and join the online sessions.

Julia with the recipe book

Featured image (left to right): Julia Fotiadis and Seham Shahin