December 14, 2021

In-house Peer Support Program is coming

Northern Health staff have faced a number of external and internal challenges and restrictions, differing work challenges, state-wide lockdowns and differing emotions, and it can be hard to gauge how we are feeling right now, especially as we are transitioning back into some sort of normality.

Michelle Fenwick, Executive Director People and Culture, explained the organisation acknowledges the need for ongoing support for our staff, as well as to continue to ensure our workplace is safe, rewarding, and one where our staff want to work.

“This is why we are excited to announce the development phase of our own Peer Support Program. This new program puts staff at the centre of support, enabling training to staff to provide brief wellbeing interventions to each other, complementing Northern Health wellbeing initiatives. It will contribute to a culture of care and build a positive work environment for our workforce and in alignment with our safe, kind, together values build Enabled Staff and Empowered Teams,” she explained.

The Peer Supporters act as role models that display the caring and positive behaviour that we want to strengthen across the organisation; normalising how to handle difficult situations and the challenges that are presented as a result of being a front-line worker.

“These programs have been an effective and efficient practice that have assisted healthcare workers (clinical and non-clinical) in handling challenging situations at home and at work, and increasing independence and awareness on the best strategies to implement in the face of adversity. Through feeling supported, our staff are also better able to provide care to our patients and community, and gain fulfillment from working at Northern,” said Stephen Whittaker, Wellbeing Team Lead.

Our Wellbeing Project Psychologist, Casey O’Brien, also speaks to the value of Peer Support Programs. “Whilst external support is crucial, some of us also feel the need to connect and be supported by people with whom we share a common bond – such as a similar working environment or profession.”

The new in-house Peer Support Program will be available for all staff to access by late February into March 2022. Between now and then, we remind staff that there are a wide range of supportive services that are always available to you such as: