Wellbeing. It’s more critical than ever.  Emotional, mental, physical and social health matters, be it at home or at work. There are tools and services available to get you the help you need.

On this page you can:

  • Access the Healthcare worker wellbeing centre
  • Explore what support services are available
  • Learn more about Victoria’s surge workforce.
Picture of Dr Naomi Brokenshire

Understanding and supporting healthcare worker wellbeing – key insights and strategies

In-depth interview with Dr Naomi Brokenshire from the University of Melbourne, expert in and champion of healthcare worker wellbeing with extensive clinical and academic experience.

Read the full interview

Healthcare worker wellbeing centre

Safer Care Victoria’s Healthcare worker wellbeing centre launched in February 2021 and is a place where you can find out about mental health and wellbeing.

Wellbeing can mean something different to each one of us, and the type of support we need will also differ from person to person. But what is important, is knowing where to get help when you need it.

The video below shows just how differently each of us see wellbeing.

  • Transcript

    [Music throughout the video]

    [Text: Wellbeing Matters…]

    [Text: To me, wellbeing at work is:]

    [Katrina Rushworth Continuous Improvement Coach holding sign ‘To me, wellbeing at work is’]

    To me wellbeing at work is not only about your physical safety at work but its also about working in an environment that’s psychologically safe.

    [Zlatko Language Services English/Macedonian holding sign ‘My wellbeing is supported by:’]

    Family and management.

    [Talks in Macedonian]

    [Maria Di Petro Manager Workforce Wellness Programs holding sign ‘To me, wellbeing at work is:’]

    Feeling connected to my immediate team and to other teams of individuals in the wider organisation. It is also about having supportive management that allows me to be me at work.

    [Emma Cashin Speech pathologist holding sign ‘To me, wellbeing at work is:’]

    Enjoying coming to work, having a laugh with colleagues and seeing positive outcomes with my patients.

    [Anne Barton Operations Manager BreastScreen holding sign saying ‘To me, wellbeing at work is:’]

    To me workplace wellbeing relates to all aspects of working life from quality and safety and the physical environment to how workers feel about their work and their working environment.

    [Thi Nguyen Registered Nurse Surgical Ward holding sign ‘To me, wellbeing at work is:’]

    Having a very good work-life balance and working with an amazing group of people who always support me 100 per cent

    [Daniel McCollough Health and Wellbeing Coordinator holding sign ‘To me, wellbeing at work is:’]

    To me wellbeing at work is supported by my team. They are compassionate, caring and always open to having a conversation and checking in to see how I’m doing.

    [Priscilla Campbell Registered Nurse Midwife holding sign ‘To me, wellbeing at work is:’]

    For me wellbieng at work is being in a positive inclusive environment that offers support and opportunity of personal growth and development.

    [Joanne Blyth Personal Care Attendant Residential Aged Care]

    Wellbeing at work to me means being confident, knowing my job and working as a team member

    [Lydia Kokonis Registered Nurse Emergency holding sign ‘To me, wellbeing at work is:’]

    Satisfied, feeling safe right through to being healthy and stable and having a sense of importance and belonging

    [Julie Crowe Food Services Assistant]

    To me, wellbeing at work is being able to come to work, safe and clean environment.

    [Ella Roos Occupational Therapist holding sign ‘To me, wellbeing at work is:’]

    Being comfortable to share any concerns or issues that I’ve got and just having fun with my colleagues whether its at work or after work as well

    [Text: My wellbeing is supported by:]

    [Anita Munoz GP]

    So I feel that wellbeing in my clinic is supported by little things that are actually super important that’s seeking advice from colleagues when you need help with a difficult case, allowing enough time for rest, having a lunch break, taking annual leave, going outside for a walk and if you’re unwell staying home to allow yourself to get better before you then go back into practice to treat others.

    [Dominique Brown Graphic Designer holding sign ‘My wellbeing is supported by:’]

    My wellbeing is supported by the people around me. My family and friends, my colleagues, my organisation and the support systems they have in place. They’re my network and they are my strength.

    [Maddy Prior Registered Nurse Surgical Ward holding sign ‘My wellbeing is supported by:’]

    My wellbeing is supported by spending time with my friends, family and my dog, along with spending time doing things I love.

    [JD Security holding sign ‘My wellbeing is supported by:’]

    My wellbeing is supported by my manager and other managers plus my colleagues.

    [Danielle Panaccio Senior General Medicine Registrar holding sign ‘My wellbeing is supported by:’]

    My wellbeing is supported by having enough time outside of work to relax and recharge. For me that means sleeping, exercising and spending time with family and friends.

    [Sylvia Food Services holding sign ‘My wellbeing is supported by:’]

    Management and especially when it comes to my personal life

    [Kerryn Fraser Patient Service Assistant]

    My wellbeing is supported by my fellow colleagues and support of my radiology team.

    [Geoff Toogood Cardiologist and Founder “Crazysocks4docs” holding sign ‘My wellbeing is supported by:’]

    Support by having the time and space to recharge and regroup. One way I do that is by swimming in one of the most perfect place for me to swim. This here, in the ocean where I can regroup with nature.

    [Text: If I am concerned about the wellbeing of a colleague, I:]

    [Phuong Truong-Nguyen Allied Health Assistant holding sign ‘If I am concerned about the wellbeing of a colleague, I:’]

    Ask if there is anything I can do to support them, even if its making them a cup of tea or just giving them some space and time.

    [Dani Denetto Associate Nurse Unit Manager Surgical Ward holding sign ‘If I am concerned about the wellbeing of a colleague, I:’]

    If I am concerned about the wellbeing of a colleague I make sure they are ok first, check on them regularly and make sure my manager is aware of what is going on so they can check on them as well.

    [Toni Howell Medication Safety and Strategy Pharmacist holding sign ‘If I am concerned about the wellbeing of a colleague, I:’]

    Sometimes I will engage in a general chat about things just to test the water. Sometimes I will ask if they feel like going for a walk or grabbing a coffee. Its important sometimes just to listen and sometimes its about helping them engage with our employee assist program or their own GP. Someone with more training than me. The important thing is to let them know that they are important and to make sure they feel that they are not alone.

    [Lorraine Cooper Environmental Supervision]

    If I am concerned about the wellbeing of my colleague, I always ask them if I can help, If I cant and it’s a little bit bigger problem than I can solve I will go and see my supervisor because I know she will know what to do.

    [Julia Lescai Speech Pathologist holding sign ‘If I am concerned about the wellbeing of a colleague, I:’]

    Firstly I make sure I check in and set some time aside to see they are ok, ask them if there is anything I can do to help them and I think just create a really open and friendly work environment.

    [Jale Security holding sign ‘If I am concerned about the wellbeing of a colleague, I:’]

    I would ask them if they are ok or if they want to speak about it Im always here listening or another colleague.

    [Grace Gibney Associate Nurse Unit Manager COVID19 Screening Services holding sign ‘If I am concerned about the wellbeing of a colleague, I:’]

    See if they want to talk to me or somebody else about it. Sometimes talking about your concerns or worries and feeling head can be helpful. At times, friends and family don’t understand what it is like to work in a public hospital setting. It is a highly emotional environment and it can be overwhelming. Talking to co-workers who have had similar or shared experiences can be really helpful.

    [Daniel Fagan Patient Services Assistant]

    I like to think I can be your friend and actually help you through the situation. If I cant then you go a tiny bit higher to our supervisors and hopefully we can work things out. Just to be your friend I think is one of the most important things as working together.     

    [Solange Altarac Health Datasets Manager holding sign ‘If I am concerned about the wellbeing of a colleague, I:’]

    I ask if they’re ok, a simple question can a huge difference to someone’s life.

    [Holly Simonsen Registered Nurse Midwife Clinical Lead- Safer Baby Collaborative holding sign ‘If I am concerned about the wellbeing of a colleague, I:’]

    If I am concerned about the wellbeing of a colleague I will reach out and check in to see if there is anything I can do and ask them are you ok?

    [Text: Thankyou to all the healthcare workers who volunteered to be part of this video. Take care, Healthcare worker wellbeing centre]

 

  • Transcript

    [Music throughout the video]

    [Jo Gibbs narrating the video]

    [Jo Gibbs in home office setting]

    Hi. My name is Jo Gibbs.

    My background is nursing and I’ve been involved in the hospital system and healthcare for about 30 years.

    I recently designed a program known as Treat, which is a mindfulness-based self-care program, which I myself, thought was valuable because I noticed that when I’d gone back to working on the wards in busy public hospitals that my own anxiety and my stress levels were ramping up.

    My sleep was getting affected.

    And so, the Treat app, which is an app designed by myself and two young doctors with the support of Alfred Health, grew from these programs because staff, after doing a session, would ask how they could practice that, or listen to that again – in the comfort of their own home and maybe also with their family.

    So, the Treat app is free.

    There are about 45 mindfulness meditations that range from one minute to about 35 minutes.

    And we have meditations that are perfectly suitable for healthcare workers.

    Because there’s a vital obs, there’s a met call, there’s a walking meditation, a coffee break meditation, helping you get back to sleep meditation.

    And they have been designed by healthcare professionals, especially for healthcare professionals.

    And it was just designed to do some good, to really help.

    So, I know that with the COVID-19 pandemic, and the recent lockdowns, that many people are feeling anxious again.

    And it’s like our nervous systems are naturally feeling hyper-roused.

    And some of us might be feeling overwhelmed and anxious.

    And some of us might be feeling a bit more blah, as though we are languishing.

    We’re not really feeling depressed.

    And we’re not feeling well, but we just can’t find that flow.

    And it’s hard to be motivated.

    And there is that sort of feeling of dread.

    So, one thing that I can recommend is checking in with yourself everyday – with that lense of self-compassion, knowing that it’s not our fault.

    That this is how humanity is feeling. So, to bring our awareness onto how we are feeling physically, mentally, emotionally.

    And science, or research, has shown that if we label that emotion, then we are going to feel better.

    So, the primary emotions are feeling sad, feeling mad, feeling bad, feeling glad, and also feeling afraid.

    And, so just labelling how we are feeling, naming it, can allow the amygdala to calm down.

    And the pre-frontal part of the brain, our executive functioning, to come back online.

    So that we are going to be less likely to react and get caught up in that elimination and that overwhelm.

    So, may you be safe, may you be well and may you work and walk with ease today.   

    [Kinetic text on screen]

    Bewell.besafe. In your healthcare workplace

    Find out more at ww2.health.vic.gov.au/be-well-be-safe

    [Victorian Government Logo and Authorisation ]

 

  • Transcript

    [Music throughout the video]

    [Jo Gibbs narrating the video]

    [Jo Gibbs in home office setting]

    Hi everyone.

    There’s a quote by Frederick Nietzsche that goes ‘When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas that we conquered long ago.’

    And sometimes when we are tired, selfcare can feel like something else that we have to do. And it’s hard to be motivated.

    So how can we simplify self-care?

    Well, TREAT has come up with the acronym RESTED, just to make it a little bit easier to remember all those domains of wellbeing that can make a difference to our day and our mood.

    So R is for Recovery. How can we recover ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally every day?

    And that might mean that we just make sure we get the seven to nine hours of sleep a night.

    Making sure we have got moments to recover, to relax, to restore ourselves.

    And that could include meditation.

    E is for Exercise. The body needs and loves to move so how can you incorporate a little bit of exercise in your day?

    S is Social medicine. How can you connect with others? S is also for Self-compassion. How can you be compassionate towards yourself, and also to others?

    T is for Time in nature. Being in nature is like taking a multivitamin pill. It helps restore us physiologically and is great for our immune system, and for the mind.

    E is for Enquiry, that ability to reflect and notice how you’re feeling. What is it that you need biologically and psychological today?

    D is for Diet. Looking at what we’re eating, when we’re eating it, looking at our alcohol intake and our caffeine so that we are restoring ourselves and every cell with micronutrients that can give us energy to help us going.

    So simply, remember RESTED as a way to enhance your own self-care.

    [Kinetic text on screen]

    Bewell.besafe. In your healthcare workplace

    Find out more at www2.health.vic.gov.au/be-well-be-safe

    [Victorian Government Logo and Authorisation]

 

  • Transcript

    [Music throughout the video]

    [Jo Gibbs narrating the video]

    [Jo Gibbs in home office setting]

    Hi everyone.

    I’d love to introduce you to the three part breathing practice. You can do this anywhere, anytime.

    All you need is a pair of hands and your lungs.

    So, let’s come to sitting and allow the feet to rest on the floor.

    Allow the sitting bone to press into the chair so that the spine can elongate.

    Bringing the hands to the belly, breathing in, and allowing the belly to swell.

    Resting the shoulders, allowing the jaw to soften and then ‘aghh’ breathing out.

    Let’s do that one more time.

    Breathing in, into your palms, and then breathing out with an audible sigh ‘aghh’.

    I’m going to describe the three part breath.

    So, what we will be doing is breathing into the belly, pausing, breathing into the ribs, pausing, and then breathing up all the way up into the collarbone, pausing.

    Holding here, and simply breathing out.

    And we’ll do that three times.

    So, alright, let’s bring the hands on the belly below the navel, shoulders relaxed.

    Breathing into the belly, pause, hands on the side ribs.

    Breathing in here, pause, and then zipping all the way to the collarbone, pause.

    And then ‘aghh’, breathing out.

    Hands on the belly, beginning again, pause, hands on the side ribs, letting them spread, up and out.

    Pause here and then zipping all the way into the heart and lungs so they float up to the sky.

    Pausing here, then the shoulders, the tongue, relax, then ‘aghh’, breathing out.

    One more time.

    Hands on the belly (even the dogs are getting excited).

    Breathing in, pause here, hands on the side rib, and then breathing up into the top of the lungs, zipping that full breath, holding here.

    And then ‘aggh’, simply breathing out.

    So, what that does, having those holds, those pauses and longer holds, allows the carbon dioxide to slightly increase in the blood and that has a stimulating effect on the vagus nerve when you have a longer, fuller exhalation. And the vagus nerve also plays into the parasympathetic nervous system.

    So, you end up feeling a little bit more relaxed, stress levels reduce, the cortisol drops, blood pressure also drops and your heart rate slows down.

    May you be safe, may you be well and may you breathe, work and walk with ease.

     

    [Kinetic text on screen]

    Bewell.besafe. In your healthcare workplace

    Find out more at www2.health.vic.gov.au/be-well-be-safe

     

    [Victorian Government Logo and Authorisation ]

Support services thumbnai

Support services

Various support services are available to help look after your wellbeing.

Find out more
Surge workforce

Surge workforce

Victoria’s surge clinical workforce is here to provide you with an extra pair of hands.

More than 49,000 shifts have been worked by on-call staff, relieving pressure on the clinical workforce. They have worked in hospitals, aged care outbreaks, testing sites, airports and vaccination hubs

This prevents fatigue and burnout, and helps people be safe and well.

Each week, the Department is deploying this standby workforce to areas that need a hand.

Find out more at Torrens Health website