These ‘interventions’ will include some simple strategies to improve health, make nurses feel appreciated and encourage them to look out for each other.
Researchers from both CQUniversity and the Base Hospital are collaborating on the project led by Professor Brenda Happell.
“Nurses are the backbone of the health care system but little attention is paid to what keeps them well and happy,” Professor Happell said.
“Given the problems in recruiting and retaining nurses, improving their health and well-being is essential.”
Shelley Nowlan, the District Executive Director of Nursing Services (CQ Health Services District), said the hospital day changes quickly.
“Every hour we have admissions coming to our wards, we have discharges coming to our wards, we have patients ringing buzzers, we have other health professionals wanting our attention,” Ms Nowlan said.
“It’s really important to make sure that’s balanced and that we take time and take stock to prioritise what we are doing. If we can’t manage the workloads we can look at other resources to see if others can assist or delegate some of that care and also we don’t have to do everything at once.”
Matthew Johnson, Nursing Director of the Education Research Unit at Rockhampton Hospital, said staff were working long hours with multiple shifts, so there were always issues about workload pressures.
L-R research team members Dr Karena Burke, Dr Susan Williams, Dr Kerry Reid-Searl, Matthew Johnson, Dr Trudy Dwyer, Cristina Caperchione and Professor Brenda Happell
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“Our research project may come up with some fruitful ideas to handle this. We’ve done some original focus groups to see what the issues are,” Mr Johnson said.
“The intention now is to do more detailed research that will show changes over time with some of the interventions we are hoping to bring in.”
Professor Happell said patient care tended to be paramount for health workers.
“We need to say it’s OK to acknowledge you are stressed and do something about it,” Professor Happell said.
“Some interventions might be as simple as posters to send a message they are appreciated or something funny to give them a laugh. We are hoping to develop things that can become part of the culture of the ward, encouraging people to feel part of a social group and part of a broader team.”
The project was launched during July in conjunction with Stress Down Day (July 23).