Keeping your head above water, lessons from the shop floor
I’ve been working as a Consultant Clinical Psychologist in critical care for five years now. Part of my role is to work with staff and the system to promote wellbeing and a better employee experience at both an individual and systems level. We know that psychological wellbeing in the workplace is multi-faceted and influenced by individual differences (such as personality and coping style) but also work factors such as job design, colleagues and team attitudes and relationships, management and leadership style, and the ethos of the wider organisation.
I’ve written elsewhere about how to manage the system for a better staff experience[i]
, however I have developed some ideas to help individual staff make
sense of working in ICU, and these have helped me, and others, to thrive
in this environment. I’ve been linking with the ICS to pull together
these insights into a series of materials to help their wider members.
These will be launched at the State of the Art 2019
this year, and will be available to download from the website.The
nature of the ICU lends itself to staff who have high expectations of
themselves and are very self-critical. We need to acknowledge that we
are only human and there is a limit to the intense emotions we can
tolerate. It is important to be compassionate for ourselves- critical
care requires us to give out +++, so we need to receive back +++.
Sometimes it feels like there is nothing we can do with what our patient
faces, but I can assure you from what patients and relatives tell me,
sometimes just being alongside them is enough.