Why I WRaP EM

Why I WRaP EM – Dr Allison Fifoot

Version 2
Dr Allison Fifoot – Emergency Physician, The Prince Charles Hospital, Brisbane.

 

I am so grateful for the opportunity given to me to be part of this wonderful group of like-minded clinicians and educators who are dedicated to the goal of bringing clinician wellbeing to the forefront of our attention in healthcare.

Being part of WRaP EM aligns with my values of kindness and connection, as well as a sense of responsibility and a concern for others.  Having taken on the Physician Wellbeing portfolio in my department, I had been struggling with how to do this role justice.  It is such a major undertaking and so critically important.  I recognised the need to work together with others, utilising everyone’s varied strengths, towards achieving a shared goal.  The invitation to join this wonderful group made me feel not alone in my quest and made change seem possible.

Given the complete lack of attention given to clinician wellbeing in my medical training, and having been indoctrinated into the self-sacrificing culture of medicine, I am definitely no wellbeing expert.  I have previously dedicated all my energies towards giving to and caring for others.  I now believe to more effectively help others achieve their own wellbeing, you need to actively address your own.  Participating actively in this space brings personal growth, and the personal experiences complement any theoretical knowledge gained for professional development.  To help me along the way, I am completing a Diploma in Positive Psychology and Wellness and have been fortunate to meet some amazing individuals who are active in the wellbeing space in a range of different groups and workspaces in our communities.

The culture in healthcare is way overdue for an overhaul.  For far too long, personal wellbeing has been sacrificed in the vain attempt to address the increasing demands on healthcare workers in a system without the resources required to meet the demand.  Self-sacrifice has been worn as a badge of honour.  Staff have been continuously asked to work harder, longer and more efficiently, without any consideration given to rest and recovery or self-care.  There is clear evidence that this approach is misguided at best and dangerous at worst, as it is not only damaging our staff but also damaging our patients.  If clinicians fail to care for their most basic physical, mental and emotional needs, how are they meant to provide the best care to their patients? 

 It is time to realise that, to be the best clinicians, we need to be thriving and not just surviving at work.

Equally damaging, is the injustice witnessed in our workplaces of lack of support and camaraderie amongst some clinicians.  Clinicians often manifest their stress by criticising others, either directly or behind their back.  It is time for us all to show kindness and empathy towards others.  No clinician goes to work planning to do a bad job.  A negative interaction with another staff member can be far more damaging to an individual than the heavy workload.  We need to work as a team within medicine, as by doing so we can achieve so much more for our patients while supporting one another at the same time.

The time for change has well and truly arrived.  Now is the time to start your own personal journey towards wellbeing. Now is also the time to contribute towards a healthier culture within our workplaces.  I am delighted to share this journey with you.

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