Over the past few years, the Health and Community Services Union (HACSU) has been partnering with Professor Kim Foster at the Australian Catholic University (ACU) and other organisations (Department of Health & Human Services Victoria, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), and researchers from Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Monash University, and the University of Canberra), in an Australian Research Council-funded study to conduct a world-first randomised controlled trial of a resilience program (Promoting Resilience in Nurses (PRiN)) with mental health nurses at NorthWestern Mental Health/Royal Melbourne Hospital.
The PRiN program was originally developed by researchers at QUT and then tailored for mental health nurses. This evidence-based program is designed to help improve nurses’ mental health and wellbeing, build their skills in managing stress, improve their relationships and management of conflict, promote their capacity for post-traumatic growth, and support them to be resilient in the face of stress at work and in their personal lives.
Like many other research projects, the study was significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and was delayed during 2020, however despite the heavy impacts of the pandemic on the health service and staff, we are pleased to say the team were able to recruit 144 registered and enrolled nurses into the trial and data collection has now finished. This is a huge accomplishment and is due to the commitment and perseverance of the NWMH/RMH managers, nurses, program facilitators and research team to achieve such a good outcome.
We are now at the exciting stage of conducting analysis of the findings. The PRiN program was very well-received by nurses, who were highly satisfied with it, reported improvements in their communication and problem-solving skills and in managing stress, and recommended the program be offered to all nurses, including new graduates as well as more experienced staff. Our preliminary analysis has shown promising findings in respect to staff wellbeing and turnover intention outcomes. We will be sharing the completed trial findings next year in a state-wide forum and look forward to keeping you updated with the final findings.
Below are some comments about PRiN from participating nurses:
“I spoke about it [the program] at our team meeting … everybody thought it was a good idea and everybody agreed that it was necessary for nurses to focus on some resilience.”
“I have nearly three years of experience now, yet I found it [the program] really helpful... for new nurses, if they can have this program it would be really amazing.”
“I think that this program should be offered more broadly. I think every single nurse should be offered an opportunity to be part of this program. Because it’s really good.”