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Creating ideas for trainee and member wellbeing

04 May 2020

For FRANZCOGs Dr Paul Howat and Dr Katrina Calvert wellbeing is a passion and a priority, and they, together with RANZCOG, are calling on colleagues across Australia and New Zealand to help support and guide wellbeing initiatives for trainees and members.

Paul and Katrina are Chair and Deputy Chair, respectively, of the newly formed Wellbeing Working Group. The purpose of this group is to consult on, determine and establish a range of appropriate wellbeing initiatives and functions that provide ongoing support and assistance for trainees and members throughout their training lifecycle and working life.

RANZCOG is calling for expressions of interest to be part of the group.

“Medicine is a stressful career and obstetrics and gynaecology, in particular, is one of the most stressful,” Paul says. “In order to be the best for our patients, we need to be well ourselves if we are to deal with that stress.

“If you are interested in that, and helping your current and future colleagues, please get involved.”

Katrina adds: “Our colleagues are doing this [wellbeing initiatives] in their hospitals and workplaces – they have got mentor programs, support strategies, out-of-hours care, and our closest friends, and partners are often also involved in this industry. Let’s get together and learn from each other, hear each other’s ideas and create a toolbox so that small units, big units, rural units, tertiary units – whatever your voice is, wherever you are from – can dip into a resource that has something there for everybody.”

Expression of Interest - Wellbeing Working Group

RANZCOG is calling for a diverse group of people with different experiences and ideas to join the Wellbeing Working Group. The Working Group will support and guide wellbeing initiatives for trainees and members across RANZCOG. The working group will meet at least four times a year (face-to-face and video conference).

Expressions of Interest close at 11:59pm AEST Sunday 17 May 2020.

Applications will be assessed by ensuring a diversity of members and trainees as listed within the Terms of Reference as well as the quality of responses to questions which form part of the application process.

Click here for further details about the Working Group, to download the Terms of Reference and to complete an application (Please note: you will need to login my.RANZCOG).

For more information please contact RANZCOG’s Wellbeing Coordinator, Clare Wells on +61 3 9114 3939 or [email protected]

The importance of wellbeing

Based in West Australia, Katrina is a strong advocate for providing better structure and support for junior doctors. “We all face challenges in our work on a daily basis, we work in high stress environments, and patient care is directly related to our own wellbeing and our mental health,” she says.

“We think naturally, altruistically about patients, but we don’t think about ourselves. Somehow a culture has crept into our speciality of ‘it’s important that you have to cope, you have to be seen to be tough’. That is implicitly modelled but sometimes explicitly stated by senior people, and it worries me. How can we have human contact and understand the vulnerabilities of our patients if we are unwillingly to express our own vulnerabilities and seek human contact ourselves?”

Paul and Katrina want to stress the importance of promotion of wellbeing and intervention.

“It is important to promote good mental health and wellbeing rather than look at ways of identifying any deficits; to be proactive and positive about this,” Katrina says.

Member Support Program

Find out what RANZCOG is doing to support our members’ health and wellbeing, and the services, networks and resources available to our Fellows, trainees, specialist international medical graduates and immediate family members.  Visit the Member Support and Wellbeing Page.



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