Anaesthetists face a number of unique challenges as part of their work, which can result in poor mental health and poor general health. The stigma surrounding mental illness and suicide in the general public, combined with the value many doctors place on being the giver of care rather the recipient, can also make it challenging for anaesthetists to seek help when they need it.
The Australian Society of Anaesthetists (ASA) recognises the importance of keeping anaesthetists well at work and for supporting those who need assistance. There has been demonstrated progress made in supporting the welfare of anaesthetists over the past 20 years. Awareness of workplace stressors and the types of challenges experienced by anaesthetists has grown since the establishment of the Welfare of Anaesthetists Special Interest Group.
Long Lives, Healthy Workplaces is an initiative of the Welfare of Anaesthetists Special Interest Group and Everymind, with support from the Australian Society of Anaesthetists (ASA) and additional funding leveraged under The Prevention Hub.
We are pleased to present this toolkit to support better mental health and wellbeing for anaesthetists and anaesthetic trainees.
The development of this toolkit was guided by a national steering committee, chaired by Dr Tracey Tay (Specialist Anaesthetist and Director, Perioperative Service at John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle, NSW) and included the following specialists from around Australia: Dr Prani Shrivastava (Anaesthetist, WA); Dr Suzi Nou (Anaesthetist, VIC); Dr Jane McDonald (Anaesthetist, NSW); Dr Greg Downey (Anaesthetist, NSW); Dr Shirley Prager (Psychiatrist, VIC); and Dr Marion Andrew (Anaesthetist, WA). Other members of the Steering Committee include Jaelea Skehan (Director, Everymind) and Sally Fitzpatrick (Project Lead, Mental Health and Research, Everymind)
The Long Lives, Healthy Workplaces toolkit is a resource to support anaesthetic departments and individual anaesthetists to operationalise a framework they can put into action. Through using the toolkit, a department or individual practitioner can identify strengths and gaps, and take a comprehensive approach to developing an action plan for change.
It is time not only to engage in a conversation around the wellbeing of anaesthetists, but to take action.
Watch ASA President’s (A/Prof David M Scott) welcome message for the Long Lives, Healthy Workplaces Toolkit for Anaesthetists.
To encourage feedback and input from anaesthetists and the wider medical profession, we have set up a secure online discussion group for the Long Lives, Healthy Workplaces project. If you’re interested in joining the chat group, please fill in the form below and we’ll be in contact with further instructions.