Implementing an ED staff wellness program: What can you learn from our journey?

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 and promote staff retention in a busy Australian ED.

Methods: The “LED Life” staff wellness committee was established in 2017 in a public teaching hospital ED in Queensland. Challenges of implementing a wellness program includes insufficient resources (e.g. people and money) and lack of awareness about the program.

Results: Strategies were implemented to address the challenges. A wide range of initiatives were implemented. An anonymous short online survey was conducted in early 2019. 95 of the 420 ED staff responded to the survey. Results indicated that the majority of staff (91%) were aware about the wellness program. 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%) and healthy food vending machine (66%).  Good staff engagement was also observed by staff attendance in a few recent activities (approximately 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, PhD Candidate at the University of Queensland, Nurse Researcher with the Menzies Health Institute Queensland, and Adjunct Lecturer at Griffith University. Her research interests include staff wellness promotion, clinical education, vascular access devices and paediatric research. Her passion in promoting staff wellness drives her interest in becoming a key driver and stakeholder of the Staff Wellness Committee in her emergency department.