NSW Emergency Doctor Health and Wellbeing Day


The first NSW Emergency Doctor Health and Wellbeing Day was held on Wednesday the 17th January at the Clovelly Lawn Bowls Club. There was a fantastic turnout  of over 90 Emergency doctors in training and CMOs.

The event  was held in response to increasing awareness of the stresses faced by our emergency department trainees, and was sponsored by the NSW AMA/ASMOF alliance and Bankstown Lidcombe Hospital.

Dr Bec Davis from Bankstown Hospital organised a range of talks and workshops which focussed on care for self and peers in the context of a work environment that focuses on care for others.

The day opened with Dr Clare Skinner, the Director of Hornsby Emergency Department sharing her heartfelt perspective on why we experience burnout.

This was followed by Cameron McIntosh, Clinical Psychologist who gave us a framework to understand our motivations well enough to maintain our psychological health while being a trainee.

Judith Lissing, (psychotherapist) led the group through the theory behind mindfulness and followed this with demonstrations and thoughts on workplace applications

In addition to these talks there were practical and valuable workshops on how to run a clinical debrief (Dr Sanj Fernando), and using  meditation and yoga to restore mind and body (Bree Corbett).

Dr Bec Davis concluded the day with thoughts on how to maintain a safe mental space in our environment which led  into a forum discussion on  enacting change ,maintaining motivation for your job, and thoughts on how to rekindle kindness, respect and humanity in our health system.

We enjoyed the late afternoon with a game of barefoot bowls and breathtaking views of the Clovelly cliffs.

Feedback was overwhelmingly positive with attendees inspired to care for themselves / their colleagues and to reconnect. Some comments from the feedback form:

“I am not alone and we all need to be compassionate to ourselves and colleague to get yourself through.”

“ Recognising burn out early is important and asking for help or making a change is necessary”

“If we work together then the system can change especially if we lead the way as ED clinicians given that we are the hub of the hospital & acute medicine”

“Be nice. We can start and maintain a hospital wide culture change. Doctors are terrible at taking breaks but we can change that too.”

- Article written by Dr Bec Davis