Healthcare Professionals

Our health care professionals are an integral component of our society. Just like a plumbers plumbing is never finished, a health professionals health is often not attended to. At Brisbane Counselling Centre we understand all too well how important it is to attend to your own needs as a health professional to be able to effectively care for others.

Why health care professionals?

Our health care professionals play an essential role in people’s lives and our communities. Caring for others can be demanding, really taking it’s toll on the care givers. At Brisbane Counselling Centre we are crucially aware of how important it is to provide confidential treatment for the caring professions, including veterinarians, GPs, surgeons, dentists, specialists, pharmacists, nurses, social workers, psychologists, mental health workers, counsellors and first responders. Psychologists and counsellors at Brisbane Counselling Centre understand the complexity of issues that health professionals face and are here to proactively help to support and care for them.

Over recent years, research has shown there has been an increased number of suicides in health care professions. Due to factors like working in a high demand role, shift work, being under-resourced in the workplace, the potential risk of physical danger in some roles, plus being able to access lethal means, like medication, has sadly placed health professionals at an increased risk of taking their own life. Likewise, the pressure health professionals are facing is leading to an increased number of mental health conditions.

There is also the added pressure of being investigated by a regulatory board, with lengthy investigative processes with minimal feedback to the health care professional being investigated, resulting in health care workers becoming increasingly stressed, compassionately fatigued, traumatised, anxious, and overwhelmed.

Along with mandatory reporting of a health professional by another health professional when it is assessed the professional is acting in a way that endangers the safety of the public, all indications are that health professionals are not reaching out for the necessary caring and confidential help some of them so desperately need. Rather, health professionals are becoming increasingly isolated regarding seeking help, with an increased risk of experiencing mental health challenges.

Veterinarians for example, have been found to have a suicide rate that is twice as high when compared to other heath professionals and an astounding risk of taking their life that is four times higher compared to the general population. Research has also shown female doctors are at a higher risk of suicide compared to male doctors. This is believed to be due to the high demands of the role, as well as the more traditional role of running a household and often being the typical primary carer in a family.

Nurses and midwives are also noted as being at a high risk of suicide, particularly male nurses due to the stereotypes that men are not traditionally thought of as being nurses, leading to stigma and judgement.

Unique challenges working in the caring profession

Although working in the health care profession can be incredibly rewarding, it can also be demanding, facing unique pressures and challenges that may not be found in other industries. Healthcare professionals have high expectations placed on them. These expectations can come from the health professional themselves or from other colleagues. The high expectations can also come from those who are seeking assistance from them. Some of these expectations can refer to the timeliness of the service provision and the availability of the service provision as well. These expectations can lead to stress and the demand to work long hours to fulfill the requirements of the role.

Due to working long hours and constantly experiencing high levels of stress on the job, as well as dealing with highly emotive issues or traumatic circumstances that can involve grief and loss, health professionals can find themselves at risk of feeling burnt out or compassionately fatigued. This is not just a matter of needing more stamina or more resilience. It is a case of not having enough resources available in the workplace to match the demands of the position.

As health professionals we understand early intervention is necessary to minimise the damage experienced. If you are feeling pressured, under high levels of stress, feeling like something is not quite right, isolated, or not like your usual self, take the proactive step to chat with a professional who understands what you are experiencing.

How can we help?

Psychologists and counsellors at Brisbane Counselling Centre understand the challenges health care professionals face. We can connect with you and are here to provide consistent, confidential and ethical care, assisting you to find a lightness in the intensity of your role.

Evidence based treatment will be tailored to meet your individual needs, in consultation with yourself from one caring professional to another. Reach out to one of our friendly team members to take the first step today to a healthier life.

Confidentiality and mandatory reporting

When accessing psychological care, confidentiality is crucial. More recently, due to changes in the law with mandatory reporting, health professionals have been reluctant to seek assistance for their own mental well-being, thinking they are going to be reported to the authorities.

Under the current National Law, all registered health professionals have a requirement to report another health professional under specific circumstances, when one has a reasonable belief, based on factual information, there is substantial risk of harm to the public. These circumstances are:

  • Practising whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Sexual misconduct whilst practising in the profession
  • Practising outside of the acceptable standards for the profession in a significant way that places the public at risk of harm
  • Impairment, defined as a physical or mental condition that substantially and detrimentally affects a health professionals’ capacity to practice

It is important to note that whilst these situations mentioned above are serious, they are circumstances in which the public is deemed to be at a substantial risk based on the conduct of the health professional. Accessing psychological care for reasons other than these reportable circumstances are fundamental for you as a health practitioner to seek assistance to take best care of yourself. You can be confident knowing these are a set of very specific circumstances in which the mandatory reporting is triggered. The value of and importance of caring for our health practitioners is held highly at Brisbane Counselling Centre.