A year on the road

Mark Aitken Stakeholder Engagement Manager - RN
It’s been a year since we launched Nurse & Midwife Support – a service we are extremely proud of, and what a year it has been! I have travelled extensively throughout Australia and every stop along the way has led me to passionate and caring nurses and midwives.

Thanks for inviting me to events, conferences and seminars. It is a privilege to continue meeting members of my profession who are as passionate about this service as I am. I also want to take a moment to thank every nurse and midwife who has shared their story with me this year! Your feedback and support make our team love what we do and help us continue to shape Nurse & Midwife Support.
Why self-care?

We have dedicated this newsletter to self-care because we are regularly told that you are stressed or burnt-out. It is our hope that over time we will see systemic change across the industry which will reduce some of the major stressors, but we also want to give you a set of tools that you can use to improve your health right now. 

You cannot drink from an empty cup.

Self-care and self-compassion were not historically part of our professional language, but it feels like we are gradually accepting the importance of looking after ourselves. Research shows us that self-care is important and makes us healthier– which means we can look after those we care for better. So everyone is a winner!

This year I started regular meditation and mindfulness practice using the Headspace app. This daily practice has made a big difference to how I interact with the world. Living in the moment is truly refreshing. As they say at Headspace, “a few minutes of mindfulness could change your whole day”.

I recently read two studies on the effects of self-compassion and the correlation with burnout for community nurses and student midwives. Both studies found that those who scored highly on measures of self-compassion were linked with lower levels of burnout. While this doesn’t surprise me, it is validating to have this confirmed by facts and figures.

If you aren’t sure where to start, I recommend this article that one of our team members has written on self-care; it’s full of easy and practical tips that you can try.

Where we have been recently

Since our last edition, we have continued to attend events across the country including:

  • Nursing and Midwifery Leaders and Advisory Forum South Australia
  • South Eastern Sydney Local District Nursing and Midwifery Health and wellbeing forum
  • Australian College of Midwives (ACM) National Conference in Adelaide.

We also attended the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM) conference “Claiming Our Future in Queensland. We were proud to sponsor and participate in this important conference. Janine Mohamed, CATSINaM CEO, spoke about how proud CATSINaM were to be working with Nurse & Midwife Support to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses, midwives and students.

It was great to meet so many inspiring nurses and midwives at all of these events and if we haven’t seen you yet, we hope we will soon.

A moment to reflect

I was recently asked why Nurse & Midwife Support is so important. While I could write all day about its virtues, I think it comes down to a few simple facts. Being a nurse or a midwife is a privilege; people let us into their lives when they are at their most vulnerable. We share their joy, despair, their highs and lows. We see and experience things that most people will never see. As humans, sometimes these experiences evoke emotions or responses that require support. Nurse & Midwife Support is able to provide this support when and if nurses and midwives need it. 

Our students and graduates are our future. They tell us that being a student and graduate can be stressful, daunting and exciting. We remember these feelings and have spent time consulting with students and graduates to develop our resources.

Please take the time to stay healthy, look after yourself and your colleagues, and remember it’s OK to say “I’m not OK” and to call us for support.

If you haven’t already, please help us spread the word about NM Support in 2018. Our aim is to ensure every Australian nurse, midwife and student knows that we are here to support them, 24/7.