Meet ICU Clinical Nurse Specialist Amy Benn 

With 10 years of industry experience across sub-acute care, medical, surgical and critical care. Amy followed her passion for teaching and worked in an academic setting and clinical support role before pursuing post-graduate research in the field of nurse and midwife wellbeing. Amy is the founder and editor of Wholeheart Magazine.

Workplace Compassion


Full staffing with adequate skill mix needs to be the first priority. Safety for patients and staff must come first. If this is not addressed, then all efforts must be made to recruit additional staff and provide an incentive for existing staff to increase their EFT even if only temporarily. Some literature has shown that any health promotion initiative being implemented in a time of change, inadequate staff, stress or organisational shift is detrimental. For two reasons, one being that staff may feel management doesn’t understand the imminent pressures on their already stretched role. Secondly that any sustainable model of health promotion is still a (positive) stress and takes up new learning which must be considered and accounted for.


Turnover is when valuable staff leave because of poor conditions or circumstances and is detrimental. One strategy to keep good and essential staff is to allow flexibility for the things that matter most to the individual. Adaptations include rostering, study support, carer support, career progression, leadership opportunities and support for project implementation.


One large frustration that staff face is related to workplace conditions and processes. Any extra time spent fixing faulty equipment, double handling tasks, documenting or chasing results is time spent away from the bedside. Which they will still have to catch up on. Supporting and ensuring adequate breaks and hydration is also pivotal. Resources like clerks and orderlies are essential for a clinical to adequately perform at their job and care for those in need… Easing the administration processes and time spent away from the bedside can assist in generating compassion satisfaction.

Organisation support

This is the relationships clinicians have with middle and executive management in the adaptability to support strategies which are better for all involved and contribute to more time spent at the bedside with patients. Appreciation goes a long way, understanding that clinicians take pride in their work and find meaning in being able to make a difference in their patients’ lives. Celebrating this with recognition, rewards, promotions and supported management days to implement strategies is necessary.

Ambitious individuals

Any ideas, programs or strategies implemented from top-down processes or forced upon by management must be cautioned. Instead, there is much to gain from grass routes initiatives, as clinicians know and understand the biggest problems they face, and also have wonderful ideas and determination to improve their own workplace. Instead, resources could be spent creating a culture that allows and supports clinicians’ initiatives and further ongoing support for maintenance.