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Self care FAQs

It is an unprecedented time and the uncertainty about so many elements of COVID-19 is a reality for many of us. It is understandable that emotional distress, even among those not directly exposed to the disease, is significant. There are many issues to contend with at once – changes in your workplace, care arrangements for family and children, financial uncertainty and more.

You are not alone. Many nurses are asking questions about how to look after themselves personally and at work. Here is a list of the most frequently asked questions from our members at the Australian College of Nursing and our community.

There is no question that being a frontline worker is stressful. As we do not know how long this pandemic will continue, sustaining your energy for frontline work needs some consideration.

You’ve made the first step by asking how you can look after yourself. This is an important realisation to accessing support.

We encourage you to join the NurseStrong Facebook Group, which is a peer-to-peer support area where you can ask other nurses how they are looking after themselves.

Phoenix Australia, a leader in mental health has developed this useful guide for frontline workers titled Looking after yourself – Psychological tips to help frontline workers look after themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nurse and Midwife Support is a 24-hour national support service providing access to confidential advice and referral. This service has the ability provide anonymous support and you can request that your consult not be recorded.

Looking after yourself

Healthcare workers can experience moral stress (moral injury) defined as the psychological, social and spiritual impact due to their work in high-stakes situations. Understanding this concept might help to develop a framework around your own experiences. This Moral stress amongst healthcare workers during COVID-19: A guide to moral injury provides insight into moral injury and what organisations, teams and individuals can do to consider the impacts.

If you find the information in this guide useful, we encourage you to share it with your managers and workplace to start important conversations.

Moral stress amongst healthcare workers

There are strategies you can employ to help you and your team’s well-being at this time. Encouraging your team to talk and connect with each other, limiting media exposure and encouraging people to take time-off when needed are just some ideas. For more ideas, review this tip sheet : Manager tips – Maintaining the psychological wellbeing of health and frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Manager tips

You are probably already doing everything in your power to support your patients at this difficult time. However, for a good refresher, check out the practitioner tips fact sheet for inspiration. Feel free to share with your colleagues too: Practitioner tips – Caring for patients’ mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic and other infectious disease outbreaks.

Practitioner tips

The Australian College of Nursing is advocating for all Australian nurses to be able to practice in a safe working environment while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. To allow us to act and address specific practice issues, we have created an anonymous COVID-19 Disclosure Portal through which nurses can voice their concerns in a safe, supportive environment. We will analyse your anonymous submissions to identify specific practice problems and raise these with the appropriate organisation or government if appropriate. Access the portal.

We have a vested interest in ensuring the community have access to the most recent information to keep everyone safe. Department of Health and Human Services, Victoria has provided a suite of translated resources related to COVID-19. View the resources.

Self care resources

* All resources are relevant as of their upload date. Due to the dynamic nature of this rapidly unfolding situation we encourage you to regularly check the individual information sources for any further updates.

Receive mental health support from a trained professional

If your mental health is suffering because of the current pandemic, reach out to HeadtoHelp now.

HeadtoHelp is a collaborative initiative of Victoria’s Primary Health Networks and funded by the Australian Government to provide in-person and phone support to Victorians of all ages.

You can reach out to HeadtoHelp by phoning 1800 595 212. A trained professional will take your call, give you advice, and if you need it, connect you to a free HeadtoHelp hub or help you find the support that suits your needs.

More information about HeadtoHelp can be found at HeadtoHelp.org.au or on the Department of Health’s factsheet.

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