Q1.Would you say you pay attention to your wellness?
I was totally unaware of my own wellness as an ED nurse for many years. As our working environment is always challenging and demanding, I consistently felt that the solution I needed was to keep working harder. I didn’t give myself permission to take care of myself differently.
A few years ago, I moved to one of the busiest EDs in the state. The clinical environment was extremely challenging. I felt completely exhausted and frustrated when facing the same intense challenges every day. I started to realise that my usual approach did not work. I needed to look after myself before my passion ran out.
In the past three years, I have become a wellness champion and started to become involved with projects and research to promote staff wellness in our ED. I believe that we need to support our colleagues to take care of themselves before they burnout.
Q2. What is your experience of how your wellness at work translates into how you do your job?
When I was physically and emotionally exhausted, I didn’t like my job any more. At times, I felt I needed to stop caring to be able to handle the workload and pressure. I feel much better since I started to take care of myself. I have become more energetic at work now that I am physically and mentally well. This has (positively) impacted my job quality and efficiency.
Q3. Do you think you can tell when your teammates are well (or unwell)? How does this affect the service you deliver as a team? How does it affect your enjoyment of your shift?
Yes. I think that we have an idea of how others function most of the time. If we are all happy and positive at work, it results in a good team that will help us survive a difficult shift. We can laugh through it and get the job done effectively.
Q4. Can you give us one idea of something you have done at work (or would like to do) to promote staff wellness in any way?
I co-founded the staff wellness committee with a consultant at the ED that I worked with previously. We have more than ten passionate wellness champions in the committee. We implemented a range of wellness activities such as regular staff BBQ, night shift coffee van, wellness newsletters, regular social events, healthier eating options and much more.