ED doctors take teamwork to the water for Wellness Week 2023

25 May 2023

Last week Taranaki Base Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) doctors celebrated Wellness Week, an annual event promoted by the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM), with a range of activities outside of work time encouraging focus on overall wellbeing.

Dr Michael Connelly, Te Whatu Ora – Taranaki clinical director of Emergency Medicine said, “In a job that has high levels of stress and intensity, where we often place our patients’ needs before our own, Wellness Week is a time to focus on our individual and group wellbeing. It gives us time to pause to manage our own health so that we can enjoy the privilege of being emergency doctors for years to come.”

There were several smaller initiatives throughout the week, with larger scale events on the Thursday and Friday.

There are more than 20 fellows of the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine (FACEMs) working as emergency medicine doctors in our EDs; over half of those (who weren’t already exercising their wellness by being on leave, took part in waka ama (or waka-waka, since the ama was replaced by a second waka and lashed together) and/or the low-tide walk from Back Beach to Ōakura. Special thanks goes to ED nurse Nathan Tuuta, who shared his waka ama expertise with the group, leading the way on the water.

Claudia Matthews, Medical and Acute services lead said the waka-waka session was a fantastic team-building experience that translated well into the work the team does every day, while also providing physical and mental health benefits (with a lot of laughs and just a hint of healthy competition!)

“Every paddler played a pivotal role in the waka, with leaders providing clear communication and direction, and everyone working in unison to ensure the group remained safe, dry and heading in the right direction," Claudia added.

Wellness Week 2023 culminated on Friday evening with a large dinner gathering to celebrate their efforts and to thank all of those friends and whānau who support them outside of the workplace.

Michael says, “All ED staff put in a tremendous amount of effort to keep the department moving and to care for our patients, so it has been nice to take time to reset and reflect on what we can do on a daily, weekly, or annual basis to keep our lives balanced and maintain a high-functioning team.

“I’d like to say a big thank you to all emergency medicine doctors in Taranaki and to all staff in and around the EDs who make our departments such a great place to work. He waka eke noa!” he adds.


Last updated: Thursday, May 25, 2023

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