“How to” create a wellness interest group (WIG)


Over the past 12 months, WRaP EM members have been involved in forming a number of Emergency Departmental Wellness Interest Groups (ED WIG). The following is a summary, based on our collective learning from these experiences, of how you could get a WIG started in your department.

The key features are:

  1. Obtain Department Management support
  2. Treat it much the same as any other formal interest group in your department

In order to be become ‘Business as usual,’ Wellness needs to be treated the same as ED core business like Sepsis or Geriatrics

  1. Multidisciplinary involvement
  2. Focusing on organisational and departmental change, not just on the individual change

I would also recommend you see our Blog Post ‘So you want to start a Wellness Programme Part 1 and part II for further information 

Step-wise Guide

  1. Discuss the concept of a Wellness Interest Group (WIG) with your Department Directors and obtain their support.
    • Medical and Nursing in particular.
  2. Send out a formal Expression of Interest (EOI)
    • Use the EOI proforma that exists for other projects in your ED
      • This process needs to be transparent
    • Involve all the key stakeholder groups in your ED.
    • Don’t assume you know who wants to be involved
      • It might surprise you who has an interest
    • It’s good to have a few sceptics in the group.
      • They will ‘keep you honest’!
  1. Collate EOI results
  2. Organise your first meeting
    • (It’s difficult to get all shift workers in one place)
    • Consider using a platform like Sharepoint/Basecamp to have group discussions.
    • Keep it official and keep minutes.
      • In order to gain credibility, this needs to be set up like any other official work meeting.
    • Keep your aims achievable.
      • A few short term wins, like a Staff Resuscitation Trolley, a wellbeing corner in your tearoom or regular Wellness Bitesize emails to staff, will help your group gain traction in your Department.
  1. Decide on your group’s name and purpose.
    • Some groups have deliberately chosen not to call themselves a “Wellness Group”.
    • The options for group names are limitless but try to make it something that is relevant to your individual workplace.
    • Some examples include: Staff Appreciation Society, Wellness Warriors.
    • Create a mission statement for your group and a set of rules of engagement.
      • This is important to do early so as to align all members’ expectations as to the purpose of the group.
  1. Set regular meeting times.
    • It may be necessary to meet several times in the initial few months after setting up the group.

Specific projects should be time-lined for action and minutes circulated to all the group members with specific actions set out for individuals.