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Supporting the wellbeing of remote agency nurses

8 Apr 2024

CRANAplus regularly partners with organisations from the remote health sector to support staff mental health and wellbeing. A recent collaboration with nursing agency Affinity Nursing has upskilled the agency’s placement specialists and provided its nurses with valuable self-care strategies.

Con­fer­ences pro­vide a place where net­work­ing, edu­ca­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tion can occur, and many won­der­ful out­comes have devel­oped from last October’s 40th CRANAplus Con­fer­ence. One of these has been a new col­lab­o­ra­tion between the CRANAplus Men­tal Health & Well­be­ing (MHW) team and cor­po­rate mem­ber Affin­i­ty Nurs­ing. In the CRANAplus Con­fer­ence Well­be­ing Lounge, the MHW team had con­ver­sa­tions with Kather­ine Lynch, Remote Place­ment Spe­cial­ist (RPS) at Affin­i­ty Nurs­ing, about how our two organ­i­sa­tions can work togeth­er to bet­ter sup­port the well­be­ing of their rur­al and remote-based agency nurses.

Kather­ine shared expe­ri­ences of Affinity’s remote place­ment spe­cial­ists who have sup­port­ed remote agency area nurs­es dur­ing chal­leng­ing times. As a result of sev­er­al sub­se­quent con­ver­sa­tions explor­ing how the MHW team could bet­ter sup­port both Affin­i­ty Nurs­ing and the agency nurs­es them­selves, CRANAplus staff Lau­ra Berry (MHW Edu­ca­tor) and Dr Nicole Jef­fery-Dawes (Senior Psy­chol­o­gist, Bush Sup­port Line) devel­oped and deliv­ered a series of vir­tu­al work­shops to Affin­i­ty remote place­ment spe­cial­ists and a sep­a­rate ses­sion for new­ly placed Affin­i­ty agency nurses.

The learn­ing objec­tives of the ses­sions included:

  • Fur­ther devel­op­ing the under­stand­ing of Affin­i­ty remote place­ment spe­cial­ists to the rewards and chal­lenges of liv­ing and work­ing as a remote area nurse, includ­ing pro­vid­ing real-life sce­nar­ios of these rewards, chal­lenges and pos­si­ble man­age­ment strategies.
  • Upskilling Affin­i­ty place­ment spe­cial­ists on pos­si­ble strate­gies to sup­port agency nurs­es to man­age their wellbeing.
  • Dis­cussing a Check in Check­list” that place­ment spe­cial­ists can use to check in with their agency nurs­es dur­ing place­ment to ensure they are ask­ing the right’ ques­tions to let them know they are supported.
  • Build­ing capac­i­ty of Affin­i­ty place­ment spe­cial­ists to iden­ti­fy when agency nurs­es may need extra well­be­ing sup­port, includ­ing the Bush Sup­port Line.
  • Pro­mot­ing the val­ue of the Bush Sup­port Line in sup­port­ing the well­be­ing of agency nurses.

The part­ner­ship was a reward­ing expe­ri­ence for all involved and hope­ful­ly a pos­i­tive step towards ensur­ing a more sus­tain­able agency nurs­ing workforce.

What was pro­found­ly reward­ing for Lau­ra and Nicole, was how much Affin­i­ty staff were invest­ed in sup­port­ing their remote agency nurs­es and how much they val­ued the oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn strate­gies for bet­ter sup­port­ing them while out on remote placements.

From Affinity’s per­spec­tive, the feed­back from the work­shop par­tic­i­pants was incred­i­bly pos­i­tive, with all Affin­i­ty staff who attend­ed the ses­sions rat­ing the pro­gram con­tent five out of five (where 5 = extreme­ly useful’).

Affin­i­ty staff also report­ed that the hon­est, prac­ti­cal, real-life sce­nar­ios and lived expe­ri­ence of the CRANAplus pre­sen­ters
were high­ly valued.

Feed­back from Affin­i­ty staff included:

Com­ing from some­one with­out a nurs­ing back­ground, this was extreme­ly insight­ful and use­ful tools when talk­ing to my nurs­es out in rur­al and remote.”

Enjoyed the ses­sion. Pre­sen­ters were knowl­edge­able and engaging.”

It was bril­liant and cov­ered some very valu­able con­tent that I’ve learnt a lot from. I have a more in-depth under­stand­ing of what Bush Sup­port Line offers. You guys are amaz­ing, intel­li­gent, cool people!”

The Men­tal Health & Well­be­ing team looks for­ward to future oppor­tu­ni­ties to col­lab­o­rate with Affin­i­ty Nurs­ing, as well as oth­er agen­cies and work­places, to enhance the men­tal health and well­be­ing of remote area nurses.

The team invites any organ­i­sa­tion employ­ing or facil­i­tat­ing the employ­ment of remote area nurs­es to reach out to learn more about CRANAplus’ men­tal health and well­be­ing ser­vices. To get in touch, email wellbeing@​crana.​org.​au