Mediclinic commits to keeping employees safe and supported
Posted on 20 Aug 2020
Mediclinic has prioritised the safety of hospital employees, doctors and allied health professionals on the frontline of a global pandemic.
When the World Health Organization declared the Corona virus outbreak a pandemic in March 2020, healthcare workers and hospital employees in South Africa faced a unique challenge. On the frontline of a global public health crisis, they were tasked with treating an influx of patients showing signs of a disease that was not yet fully understood.
“We knew COVID-19 would potentially have a negative impact on the mental health and wellbeing of our employees by bringing new challenges to their lives, at home and at work,” says Megan Buhagiar, Training & Development: Organisational Effectiveness Manager at Mediclinic Southern Africa, “and supporting the needs of our frontline healthcare teams is a critical element of our organisational response to the pandemic.”
We are delivering this through the Care.Courage.Compassion. initiative, a multi-pronged campaign designed to help employees, doctors and allied health professionals in navigating these challenges. This campaign is one element of a larger, comprehensive organisational response to supporting Mediclinic employees – working alongside other company-wide mechanisms and initiatives, including internal communication, education campaigns and regular leadership briefings.
“This is a heartfelt expression of our appreciation for and support of our frontline healthcare employees,” says Buhagiar, “and gives us a means to provide our employees with ‘psychological PPE’ that will help equip them with the means to cope with the negative psychological effects of the pandemic, such as traumatic stress, burnout and compassion fatigue.”
The Care.Courage.Compassion. campaign consists of five interlinked parts.
“The aim is to support our employees with information and tools they can use to maintain their wellbeing and build their resilience as life and work during the pandemic evolves,” explains Buhagiar. “The primary platform for the self-care resources is an exclusive Mediclinic web page. The Care for the Carer resources cover a range of wellness themes, such as physical, emotional and psychological wellness.”
“We are equipping our leaders to navigate effectively through this crisis,” Buhagiar says. “We’ve partnered with Gallup to run a COVID-19 leadership pulse survey, in order to better understand how we might best support our people. We’ve also equipped leaders through leadership webinars and broadcasts (facilitated by Gallup), weekly leadership emailers and useful tools they can use to support their teams. The ‘How are you feeling?’ emotions thermometer tool, designed to get team members talking about their emotional wellbeing, is one such tool.”
Hospital employees have access to telephonic counselling via two 24/7 external support helplines.
A safe space
The Industrial Psychologists and Clinical Specialists in the Human Resources department are facilitating face-to-face and virtual employee wellbeing support sessions for our frontline employees as part of a targeted support campaign.
“The main purpose of these sessions is to provide an opportunity for employees to speak openly, and in a safe space, about concerns and challenges currently experienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The sessions are aimed at supporting individual/ team wellness so that our employees feel cared for and are able to consistently deliver the quality care our patients deserve. In addition, the sessions can assist in the process of identifying individuals who may need additional psychological support.”
Mediclinic employees also have access to individual professional psychological counselling services should they need additional support.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is a marathon, not a sprint,” says Buhagiar. “Our aim is to provide our employees with relevant occupational health and wellbeing support until they cross the finish line – and beyond. Now, more than ever, we recognise that the wellbeing and professional resilience of our healthcare teams is of paramount importance.”