A collaborative approach to wellbeing has been the way from the start for FACEM Khin Moe Sam and the welfare team at Dandenong Hospital Emergency Department.
The team was nominated for the 2020 ACEM Wellbeing Award for its work delivering a range of wellbeing activities, including Tim Tam Tuesdays, in which all staff share Tim Tams and take a moment to pause, reflect and enjoy; Who’s Your Mate, a buddy program that pairs staff members from different disciplines to look out for each other; and a zoo channel, a screen at the NIC desk that broadcasts activity from zoos around the world 24/7.
‘It’s a great distraction. There’s not a staff member who can’t find themselves smiling and mesmerised for a few minutes from that channel,’ says Khin of the zoo channel.
Khin’s colleague Detsy Holten, a senior nurse in the department and the leader of the ED Welfare group, says learning of the award for the team was emotional following a hard year.
‘I was on the floor when our director Frank Soden came up and played me the video clip of the announcement. I was overwhelmed.’
‘The welfare team had worked so hard during the extreme lockdown Victoria experienced to ensure the wellbeing of all the staff. We were all tired due to COVID-19 and 2020. This was such an unexpected and uplifting award.’
Khin says she was told by a member of the College’s Membership and Culture Unit.
‘I heard just before Christmas. I nominated our group because I was so impressed with the initiatives in our department and we’re so pleased and proud to have won the award. The award was announced in our health network’s internal newsletter as well.’
Khin and Detsy say the team revamped its approach following a few traumatic events in the department, and focused from the outset on a collaborative and inclusive approach.
‘The effect [of those events] was a concern at the time and for the future. We surveyed to see what everyone thought of the welfare model in place and the results were fairly consistent.’
‘We put together a leadership team of 25 people across disciplines and found that a single approach would not work for everyone and that a range would be best.’
Now the group conduct a range of wellbeing activities to meet the needs and interests of all staff – clinical or
‘Our team believes in involving everyone on the floor. Multidisciplinary engagement in welfare activities has resulted in a happier and more positive work environment.’
‘With shift work it can be hard to capture everyone, but we have a big leadership group who all pitch in with ideas and activities and we always try to vary when activities are happening so that everybody can engage.’
Khin says not to be disheartened if not everyone takes up every activity.
‘Don’t worry if you only have a small group embrace one particular event. That can happen. Keep going, they will grow.’
Khin and Detsy hope they will see ongoing engagement from multidisciplinary teams and to put on more face-to-face events as COVID-19 restrictions ease.
‘It would be good to see sustainable and constant growth of the welfare team and its activities.’
‘Working in an emergency department can be very stressful. It’s important we look after our most important
resource – our staff.’
‘We all need to share the responsibility for staff wellbeing.’
Details about the ACEM Wellbeing Award and ACEM Diversity Award are available here. Nominations for both awards will open again later in 2021.