Empowering Female Immigrant Nurses to Care for Their Own Mental Health
Repository Posting Date2016-03-17T12:55:13Z
Author DetailsJoy Penman, RN
Lead Author Sigma AffliationNon-member
Other Title(s)Empowering Others through Promoting Health and Wellness
Session presented on Friday, July 24, 2015: Purpose: The recruitment and development of the immigrant workforce is indicated as a strategy to overcome workforce shortages in aged care in Australia. However, the employment experience of immigrant workers in aged care (consisting mostly of female nurses) have had problems, especially in regional Australia. Some report isolating, negative and unsatisfying work experiences. To improve these experiences, it was proposed that an eductional resource manual be developed and a series of educational workshops on caring for one's own mental health be conducted in workplaces. In preparing the educational resource and workshops, a reference group consisting of metropolitan and regional health sector representatives was formed and consulted to promote the mental health of female immigrant nurses in aged care. The purpose of this presentation is two-fold: describe the state of the art learning environment aimed at assisting female immigrant nurses in maintaining and promoting mental health and well-being; and report the outcomes of the educational workshops conducted in five rural and regional areas of South Australia. Methods: The workshops utilising the educational resource manual developed were conducted in various regional aged care services in South Australia. Participant information sheets were distributed by Directors of Nursing of the aged care services agreeing to participate. Arrangements when the sessions were to be conducted were made. Attendance was taken as consenting to participate in the workshops. A pre- and post-test mixed method design was used to determine the impact of the educational manual and accompanying workshops on participants' work experience and satisfaction. The questionnaires administered before and after the workshops sought information on: the nature of employment pressures; current coping strategies; managing stressful situations; understanding of job resilience, maintenance and promotion of happiness; and the overall impact of the workshop. Results: A total of twenty-five female immigrant nurses attended two three-hour sessions held at various aged care services. Findings showed positive and beneficial outcomes gained in participating in the workshops. Participants reported: a clearer and better understanding of ways of maintaining and promoting mental health; opportunity to reflect on one's own coping strategies; gaining the ability to assess one's own mental health; enhanced ability to cope with the pressures of work; opportunities for peer support; and increased and morale. Conclusion: The initiative is fit for purpose, effective, relevant and timely. Future plans include surveying the same participants six to twelve months after workshop completion, extending the initiative to include metropolitan aged care services, and facilitating mental health specific forum/s with a focus on mental health research and the aged care workforce. The expansion of the workshops for future collaborations in education, research and clinical practice is another goal to achieve.