Nursing leaders at South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD) have developed the Australian-first Nursewell app to support self-care and wellbeing for nurses and midwives. They recognised the need for a practical, modern, efficient resource to support the professionals who put patients first, sometimes to the detriment of their own health.
The free Nursewell app, available via Apple App Store and Google Play Store, contains information and activities targeted at some key health concerns of nurses and midwives, such as better sleep, improved back health, gratitude and wellbeing, better thinking habits and mindful eating.
The app was made possible with financial assistance from the SESLHD Nursing and Midwifery Unit, the Ministry of Health and the Prince of Wales Hospital Foundation’s Louisa Hope Fund for Nurses.
A survivor of the Sydney Lindt Café siege in 2014, Louisa Hope knows first-hand the important role nurses play.
“Current research tells us there is an important link between staff self-care and wellbeing with the quality and safety of care delivered to patients. In short, how we care and show compassion for ourselves influences how we care and show compassion for others. We sincerely hope nurses across NSW, Australia and even internationally are able to use the Nursewell app to support their wellbeing and vitality for now and well into the future of their nursing career,” Ms Hope said.
The Nursewell app contains a number of short meditation and Pilates exercises which nurses can practice daily before, during or after work, either by themselves or with their teams.
Another key benefit of the app is that it provides an opportunity at the end of each section to reflect on learning and collect this information as part of the AHPRA annual requirements for Continuing Professional Development for nurses nationally.
The health issues which guided the content presented in the app stem from the study by Professor Lin Perry et al, ‘Fit for the Future’ survey of nurses’ health in NSW, Australia’.
Kim Olesen, Director of Nursing and Midwifery SESLHD, said nurses and midwives provide around the clock care and support to their patients and providing a resource that helped them look after themselves was a way of giving back.
“A clear pattern is emerging of nurses achieving a high level of job satisfaction, however, with substantial symptom burden and health risks such as poor diet, smoking, obesity and hypertension.” The app hopes to help nurses and midwives counteract this pattern.