WELLBEING FIRST: Dr William Bay and Dr Ira van der Steenstraten talk about the Resilience on the Run program being rolled out across several Queensland Hospitals after a sucessful trial in Rockhampton.
WELLBEING FIRST: Dr William Bay and Dr Ira van der Steenstraten talk about the Resilience on the Run program being rolled out across several Queensland Hospitals after a sucessful trial in Rockhampton. Allan Reinikka ROK021116adoctors

Well being critical for Queensland's young doctors

FOR junior doctor William Bay, self-care is one of the most important aspects of being a medical professional.

It's a job which involves caring for people at their lowest, but it often comes with enormous pressure.

"You always have to deal with a busy work load, requirements from many different staff members and procedures to follow," Dr Bay said.

"It's always challenging when people you care about, the patients you're looking after, pass away or get very sick."

Dealing with these situations is something the Resilience on the Run program targets.

 

The program was initiated by the Australian Medical Association Queensland after a 2013 report showed doctors generally experienced higher rates of psychological distress, anxiety and burnout than the generation working population.

Yesterday, Dr Bay participated in his third round of the program which was trialled in Rockhampton before being rolled out across several Brisbane hospitals.

"I think it's been a fantastic reminder to focus on the things that don't matter and the things that do matter when you're working as an intern," he said.

"You're often faced with a lot of challenging situations and I think it's important to let go some of the things that may stress you or upset you so you can focus on giving appropriate patient care.

"I think the most challenging thing I've faced this year is dealing with the death of one of the patients we were looking after.

"I had to inspect the patient, sign the paperwork, do the death certificate and having dealt with that patient, it was challenging."

Dr Bay said a regular exercise routine, good diet, plenty of sleep and meditation had all helped improve his own wellbeing.

"If you can't look after yourself then you can't look after others and that's our primary responsibility as doctors, so it's absolutely important we look after ourselves," he said.

Dr Ira van der Steenstraten, who delivers the program, said it focused heavily on mindfulness.

She said doctors were trained to have some distance between their emotions and their communication with patients.

"We do role play scenarios, difficulties on the job, how to handle yourself when you're in communication with difficult people, where to get help," she said.

"So far we've had overwhelmingly positive responses."

CEO of the Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service Jo Whitehead said it was a stressful transition from student to first role as doctor.

"We want to make sure our new interns are supported in all aspects of their work, whether they're on the wards, or with training and development, or support from nursing staff or senior medical colleagues," she said.



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