Implementing an Emergency Department staff wellness program in an Australian public hospital

Mrs Hui (Grace) Xu1,2,3,4, Dr  Michael Butterfield1, Ms Tracey Churchill1, Ms Vickii Hughes1

1Emergency Department, Logan Hospital, Brisbane, Australia, 2School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, 3School of Nursing and Midwifery, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia, 4Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia

Background: There is an increasing awareness of emergency department (ED) staff wellbeing due to a high staff burnout rate. Little published research addresses ED workplace staff wellness promotion. This staff wellness program aims to improve staff wellbeing in a busy Australia ED.

Methods: The “LED Life” staff wellness committee was established in 2017 in a public teaching hospital ED in Queensland. A wide range of initiatives aiming to improve staff wellness were implemented.  An anonymous short online survey was conducted in early 2019 to capture staff perceptions of these activities.

Results:  95 of the 420 ED staff (23%, 53 nurses, 41 doctors and 1 administration staff) responded to the survey. Results indicated that the majority of staff (91%) were aware about the wellness program even though nearly half of respondents (53%) were unsure of the impact of LED Life on staff wellbeing. Staff rated the most beneficial initiatives including multicultural day (79%), Christmas party (78%), staff BBQ (77%), coffee van on night shift (73%), other social events (67%), healthy food vending machine (66%), drink vending machine (66%) and discount gym memberships (59%).  Good staff engagement was also observed by staff attendance in a few recent activities (152 staff at Christmas party; 150 staff at BBQ). Staff proposed to have more social or group activities in the future.

Conclusion: Establishing a workplace wellness group and implementation of departmental staff wellness activities created a visible platform and additional opportunities to promote staff wellbeing.


Hui (Grace) Xu is an experienced Nurse Practitioner in emergency medicine, Nurse Researcher with the Menzies Health Institute Queensland, and Adjunct Lecturer at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Griffith University. Her research interests include staff wellness promotion, clinical education, vascular access devices and infection prevention. Her passion in promoting staff wellness and patient safety drives her interest in becoming a key driver and stakeholder of the Staff Wellness Committee in her emergency department and a member of the Medication Safety Committee in her hospital.