RhPAP works with Wabasca health-care providers to provide tools for reducing stress
How do you cope with stress as a health-care provider?
For the staff at the Bigstone Medical Clinic in Wabasca, the answer is a combination of yoga, meditation, self-care, and a little help from RhPAP.
On February 14, 2020 (before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic), Bigstone used funding from RhPAP’s Financial Incentive for Rural Staff Training (FIRST) Program to bring in Smiling Dog Yoga from Slave Lake to help their staff better understand the effects of stress in their lives and learn techniques for reducing its harmful effects. The day included a variety of interactive activities designed to teach basic desk yoga movements and meditative exercises, as well as help participants understand what self-care is and why it is important. The session ended with “yoga-nidra,” a guided mediation that is the equivalent of four hours of rest.
“One of the main concerns listed when I do employee wellness surveys is stress in relation to workload and tasks,” explains Bigstone Medical Manager Angela De Varennes. “This wellness event was a fantastic experience for everyone and made my staff feel special while also giving them some new tools and resources to improve their well-being and health.”
At the end of the session, participants were able to track the patterns of daily personal stress in their lives and understand the benefits of yoga and meditation for reducing stress.
“I had fun,” says April Steele who works as a nurse practitioner in Wabasca. “It always helps with stress to learn new health tips.”
Other Bigstone staff members also found the day beneficial.
“I learned ways to relax and de-stress,” says Melinda Gambler, a medical office and optometry assistant. “And this is so good, because I didn’t know what to do before when I was overwhelmed at work.”
“I didn’t think I could even do yoga before this!” exclaims Desirae Mcleod, also a Bigstone medical office assistant. “I learned about Yoga-nidra and meditation; breathing exercises we did with lights off and voice in the background for peace when I am stressed out at home or at work.”
For the clinic, it was important to do this training in person.
“As a medical manager for rural areas one of my greatest challenges is providing my staff with hands-on team building sessions and education workshops,” explains De Varennes, who, in addition to being the clinic manager, is a registered nurse.
“While there are many online options, I feel that my staff living and working in remote areas can benefit further with in–person connections and learning. I am very grateful to RhPAP for their assistance in my being able to provide my staff with an event that has helped them gain healthy coping tools.”
Ed. note: We’d like to thank Angela DeVarennes for her work behind the scenes to make this article happen, and also for contributing the photos and much of the content that was used within.