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Evaluation of a staff well-being program in a pediatric oncology, hematology, and palliative care services group

Authors Slater PJ, Edwards RM, Badat AA

Received 11 June 2018

Accepted for publication 11 September 2018

Published 15 November 2018 Volume 2018:10 Pages 67—85


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Russell Taichman

Penelope J Slater,1 Rachel M Edwards,2 Ashraf A Badat1

1Oncology Services Group, Queensland Children’s Hospital, Brisbane, QLD, Australia; 2Nursing Learning and Workforce Development, Queensland Children’s Hospital, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

Purpose: Challenges experienced by staff in the Oncology Services Group at Queensland Children’s Hospital led to issues with staff retention, well-being, and stress on team culture. Therefore, a customized program was developed through a needs analysis to improve the well-being and resilience of oncology staff, enabling them to cope with stressors and critical incidents inherent in their everyday work and to flourish. The program included education, on-site counselors, mindfulness sessions, debriefing, well-being resources, and improved engagement, support, and communication.
Methods: Evaluation of the program in the first year examined program participation, staff feedback following education workshops and mindfulness sessions, staff retention rates, and the results of an annual organizational staff survey and a program outcome survey.
Results: Approximately 76% of staff attended the Introduction to Well-being workshop, and 98% of responses to survey questions were positive. Staff also provided positive feedback on the other well-being workshops and sessions embedded within existing education programs. Employee Assistance Program counseling sessions had an 81% uptake, with a wide variety of presenting issues, 62% related to work. All participants in mindfulness sessions agreed that it was a valuable tool to improve clinical practice, 94% said it had an immediate positive impact on their well-being, and 70% agreed that they were applying mindfulness principles outside the sessions. Staff retention and turnover improved. Staff reported a positive effect on awareness of self-care, addressing risks to resilience, seeking support from trusted colleagues, coping with critical incidents, and the ability to interact positively with patients and families.
Conclusion: The evaluation showed a positive impact on staff well-being. Although there was a wide variety of successful interventions reported in the literature, sustainability needs to be considered. Feedback on this program found that staff appreciated being listened to, valued, and supported through the strategies, and the ongoing program will continue to monitor staff needs and be responsive in building their resilience and well-being.
Keywords: staff well-being, resilience, burnout, vicarious trauma, self-care

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