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Midwifes recognised for 'giving staff a voice'

Friday, September 13, 2019 maternitynursingwomen's health
Midwifes recognised for 'giving staff a voice' Sally Collier-Clarke and Sara Jorgensen are finalists in the WorkSafe Health and Safety Representative of the year award.
Two Bendigo Health midwives have been recognised for their work in reducing stress and fatigue for women's ward staff.

Two Bendigo Health midwives are finalists in the WorkSafe Health and Safety Representative of the year award.

Sally Collier-Clarke and Sara Jorgensen became Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) for Bendigo Health’s women’s ward in late 2017.

 They had concerns about stress levels, workloads and proposed staffing changes during night shift.

“Our staff needed a voice,” Sally said.

“It (workloads) became a problem for staff so we decided to look at it from a stress and fatigue point of view which is what our staff were dealing with.”

The pair were unsure of how to quantify stress but began to collate data on work levels and encouraged staff to submit Victorian Health Incident Management System (VHIMS) reports on issues they encountered at work.

The result was positive discussions with the hospital executive, who agreed to maintain current staffing levels.

“The staff are happier, they feel that through this process that management aren’t people who aren’t going to listen to us. They do listen to the coalface workers. They do listen to what we are saying but it is a process,” Sally said.

 “If the staff are happy and healthy it reflects in our care,” Sarah said.

Sally and Sarah are the first HSRs to represent staff in the women’s ward for a number of years and were initially wary of the role and its consequences.

“It gives somebody a voice for the larger group in a non-judgemental space where there’s no repercussions – the hospital recognises our position as HSRs,” Sarah said.

The pair are pleased they took on the role to drive positive change for staff at Bendigo Health.

“It (HSR role) has given us more knowledge of what’s available to us to keep our staff happy,” Sally said.

The winners will be announced at the WorkSafe Awards Dinner at Melbourne Town Hall on October 31.