We were delighted to have the opportunity to speak with Dr Tonya Coren last month. We’d love to hear from more clinicians practising in our region and share your story.
After nearly a year working on the front line in a respiratory clinic, testing patients for COVID-19, Dr Tonya Coren says having great team support and a sense of humour certainly helps make each day enjoyable.
“We’ve got a terrific team of nurses and doctors here at the Tamar Street Clinic in Ballina,” Dr Coren says. “They are doing a great job. You feel really good about yourself working here because most patients are so appreciative and thankful for the role we are doing.
Tonya has decided to make 2021 the year she gets back into creating a better work/life balance.
“2020 was not a year with a lot of time for taking care of myself,” she said. “It was a very challenging and exhausting year for everyone.
“Now it’s clear that we are going to be in this for the ‘long game’ – coronavirus is not going away any time soon. It seems that this is going to be in our lives for a while, so like other people, I am realising that I have to go back to making my personal health and wellbeing a priority. Caring for yourself can go out the window when things start getting a bit crazy at work.
“We all need to find what works best for us, but for me personally, I have gone back to practising sensible mindfulness, exercising regularly, and booking in some personal training each week, eating well, and sleeping well. All of that.
“I train in the morning a few times a week, so I don’t even have a chance to get out of it. I can’t use the excuse that I am too tired at the end of the day. I do find it’s great for my mental health, and for my energy levels to be having regular exercise.
“I think looking after our mental health is so important for everyone.
“Last year I didn’t prioritise my own health needs, as I didn’t feel I had the capacity to, but this year I’m making it a priority. I’ve got to practice what I preach!”
Tonya said that with the rollout of the vaccines, the Ballina Respiratory Clinic is one of the approved vaccination centres.
“The vaccination program is the current priority in our COVID-19 journey,” she said. “I think it is reassuring to the community to understand the extent of research that has gone into the vaccine.
“We are encouraging all our eligible patients to consider the vaccine and to make an informed decision.
“We have been incredibly fortunate in Australia not to have had the same experience as places like the UK and USA. However, the community should understand we have to live with COVID-19, and if having a vaccine is going to reduce a person’s risk of serious illness from the virus, then it is definitely something to consider.”
Resilient Practice: Why Clinician Wellbeing is Important
As we enter this potentially stressful Easter period, with COVID-19 significantly impacting our local area for the first time since the pandemic began, we just want to send a message of gratitude and support to our wonderful health workforce.
We want to acknowledge the tremendous work you are all doing to keep our communities safe and thank you for the countless hours of hard work you are putting in to support the vaccine rollout and to provide COVID-19 testing.
Sometimes we put all our effort into working and other commitments, and we don’t make self-care a priority. Eventually, this can lead to feeling burnt out, unwell or stressed.
Understanding this, we are inviting you to attend one of our upcoming clinical society dinner events on Wednesday 21 April in Goonellabah, from 6pm to 8pm.
This event will provide information on burnout and compassion fatigue. Join us for dinner and networking before a highly interactive discussion on clinician wellbeing. Get to know the warning signs of compassion fatigue and burnout and develop practical strategies for collectively building resilience in the workplace.
- Identify the professional and personal stressors that may impact resilience in the workplace
- Identify the impact of toxic stress on physical and mental health
- Recognise the warning signs of compassion fatigue and burnout
- Develop practical and effective strategies to reduce burnout and build resilience