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Supporting Staff who Support Students Eleanor Flynn1, Wendy Hu2, Robyn Woodward-Kron1 2School of Medicine, University of Western Sydney 1Melbourne Medical School, University of Melbourne Acknowledgements: ANZAHPE & ACEN Research Grants
Workshop Overview • Background • Training resources for professional, academic and clinical staff who support students • Video triggers to foster peer support • A critical incident response flowchart • A note: • Scenarios based on aggregated real life stories • Discuss what you are comfortable discussing, but please keep it private
Why is supporting staff important? • Unique stressors1-2 faced by medical & health professional students • Community expectation to provide academic & pastoral support to students • Distance from on-campus services and staff training
Student concerns presenting to staff Increasing level of concern • Scheduling, procedures, paperwork • Study, progress and assessments • Isolation, specific placement issues • Relationships: peers, staff and family • Financial and employment pressures • Mental health and substance abuse • Accidents and deaths: suicide, life-threatening illnesses
What are the effects of dealing with student concerns on you, or on your staff? Discussion Activity 5 minutes – Think-Pair-Share
Research findings – Impact on Staff of Supporting Students in Distress • ‘Emotional labour’ work not acknowledged • Tensions between • Formal roles, and desire to help students • Being approachable, and keeping professional boundaries • Maintaining privacy, and documenting concerns • Feeling responsible, but ineffectual • Need for staff support and training
Training & Support Recommendations PROCESSES RESOURCES Skills training e.g. Mental Health First Aid Information about local referral and support services Information about policies and procedures Critical incident flowchart and checklist Training resource with video simulations • Orientation, role clarification • Management of workload, formal recognition • Clearer communication: when to refer and to whom, what to document • Peer support: informal debriefings • Self care, boundary setting
When students disclose: How should I respond? Discussion Activity 30minutes – Video scenarios
A Scenario A student comes to you in the office with a timetabling request…. Questions to consider: • Whathappens in the video scenario? • What issues does the scenario raise about staff roles and responsibilities? • How should staff respond to this scenario?
A Scenario An administrative officer approaches a supervisor with concerns…. Questions to consider: • Whathappens in the video scenario? • What issues does the scenario raise about roles and responsibilities? • What should be done?
When the unexpected happens: Developing a response flowchart Discussion Activity 30minutes
Types of student concerns • Usual Staff-Student interactions Student request Staff response (check policy) Referral Documentation Follow-up • Critical incident – a definition5,6 • Traumatic and serious event • Extreme physical and/or emotional distress • Outside normal range of experience Imbalance between usual staff capacity and resources, and the needs of affected person(s)
What are examples of critical or urgent student concerns? Discussion Activity 5 minutes – Think-Pair-Share
Circulate information about support services Where to from here? Disseminate an incident response pathway Develop a “standard” referral pathway Staff orientation and training How will you use the workshop resources?
Further information Eleanor Flynn firstname.lastname@example.org Wendy Hu email@example.com Robyn Woodward-Kron firstname.lastname@example.org