Focusing on member support and wellbeing

03 February 2020

RANZCOG’s appointment of a Wellbeing Coordinator signals the College’s commitment to supporting members in their pursuit of clinical excellence and ensuring that obstetrics and gynaecology remains a satisfying and rewarding vocation.

It is widely recognised that doctors are working longer hours in highly pressured, understaffed environments, and their wellbeing is suffering as a result.

In fact a recent study, funded by the Royal College of Gynaecologists, highlighted the prevalence of work-related post-traumatic stress disorder among obstetricians and gynaecologists.

“The impact of doctors’ work on their mental health is a major concern not only in Australia and New Zealand but across the world,” says Clare Wells, RANZCOG’s newly appointed Wellbeing Coordinator.

“Our members are working in a profession that is so challenging and they have to be on top of their game all the time. In terms of the mental toll that can take, particularly if they are not proactively looking after their wellbeing – and that spans mental health, nutrition, exercise, water intake and so on – the risks can be high.

“It is important to focus on this area and make sure members are looking after themselves in order for them to look after their patients, as well as making sure they do not burn out.”

Clare comes to RANZCOG after overseeing a health and wellbeing program at a sustainable timber plantation company in Victoria. “I could see that this work had a real impact,” she says. “For me, that meant a lot, and I want to continue to make that difference here at the College and for our members.”

Charged with implementing wellbeing support strategies to members, trainees, Specialist Medical International Graduates (SIMGs) and College staff, Clare will also provide referral advice to members and staff seeking advice or guidance about where to go for support.

RANZCOG is committed to providing support and resources to ensure that its members practice self-care, discuss challenges openly and seek help when it’s needed. The College has a number of services, networks and resources available in order to support members’ health and wellbeing.

For example, Clare says RANZCOG’s Member Support Program, Converge, provides confidential support to trainees, SIMGs and fellows (and their immediate family members) across Australia and New Zealand. Support is available through access to qualified and experienced counsellors on a range of issues. All sessions are entirely confidential, and the first four sessions are fully subsidised by the College. Sessions may be face-to-face, by video conference or by phone.

The College also has a dedicated support unit for trainees and supervisors.

“The College really recognises this [member support and wellbeing] is an area we have to proactively focus on and make sure we are listening to and collaborating with members, trainees and College staff,” Clare says.

You can contact Clare via email ​​[email protected], or phone +61 3 9114 3939.



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