Emergency medical providers, including those who work in the field of pre-hospital and retrieval medicine, are exposed to extraordinary amounts of workplace stress. Our “office” is filled with emotionally charged and high-stress situations associated with fear, pain, suffering and death.
The mental and physical demands we face as a result of challenging work conditions in remote locations, complex medical and operational missions, limited resources, and the need to process overwhelming amounts of information in a time-critical manner, can have negative effects on all members of the pre-hospital team. Un-addressed and unsupported, the above factors have the ability to significantly affect our personal and organisational wellbeing, and therefore our ability to provide early, safe, optimal patient care. Additionally, workplaces that prioritise mental health have better engagement, reduced absenteeism, higher productivity, greater morale, higher job satisfaction, and within health organisations, enhanced patient outcomes. It is not often possible to remove or modify our industrial stressors (we do not have any control over our patients or the types of medical catastrophes we are faced with). It is therefore crucial that we provide our people with the tools to build resilience and nurture wellness at both individual and organisational levels.
To address the needs of our organisation Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust’s Wellbeing and Resilience initiative was developed.
In December 2018, Dr. Louise Park was appointed as the Clinical Lead for Wellness and Resilience.
This was followed by the development of a Wellness Working Group, comprised of members representing all disciplines within ARHT.