06 May 2020
In this episode, Taking care host Susan Biggar is joined by three health professionals who are long-time advocates for practitioner wellbeing. They discuss practical and evidence-based strategies to safeguard and support practitioners and teams through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
In Health practitioner wellbeing in the pandemic era and beyond, psychiatrist Dr Kym Jenkins, clinical psychologist Margie Stuchbery and Dr Jane Munro, a rheumatologist, share personal and professional insights on practitioner wellbeing.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought exceptional challenges for health professionals, with many practitioners facing increasing daily pressure and for some, new anxiety. Concerns for safety and the stress of an increased workload are common among those working on the frontlines of the pandemic. For others, social distancing requirements have meant a significant downturn in work or students being unable to complete their studies to graduate.
Download the latest episode of Taking care to hear why wellbeing is so important both personally and professionally for health practitioners, with lots of tips and advice and where to find the latest evidence-based wellbeing resources.
Dr Kym Jenkins, a Melbourne-based psychiatrist, Chair of the Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges and 10-year Medical Director of the Victorian Doctors Health Program, says that it has never been more important to consider the health and wellbeing of health practitioners now and in the future.
‘It is essential that we look for long-term solutions to support the wellbeing of physicians and clinicians, as the pandemic and its effects may be here for months and years,’ Dr Jenkins said.
Dr Jane Munro, a rheumatologist from the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, long supporter of health practitioner wellbeing and creator of the #PandemicKindness movement says the long lead time Australia had before the COVID-19 pandemic hit our shores gave an advantage to our preparation but also heightened stress, ‘We could see what was happening in China and Europe over several months, which gave an advantage to our preparation but also additional anxieties about what might happen.’
Margie Stuchbery, a clinical psychologist, co-founder of Mentalisation Based Treatment Australia Association (MBTAA) who is currently working on the Minding COVID working group, highlights that while health practitioners have made life choices to work in caring professions, they are also people who are members of communities and families, ‘We are just as likely to have pre-existing vulnerabilities and all the usual problems of human life, while simultaneously caring for others. It is important to remember that health practitioners are vulnerable, too.’
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