On 10th June, the Stellenbosch University Network for Strengthening Rural InterProfessional Education (SUNSTRIPE) offered a workshop on compassion and wellbeing to Primafamed.   The workshop was filled up with 50 registrations soon after the advert was released, which perhaps expressed a need for this topic.  The turnout of 20 participants was a little disappointing, but hose who attended were very engaged participants in this interactive workshop. The numbers meant that there could be two facilitators per breakaway group discussion, which was the main activity of the session.  Co-facilitating group discussions was enjoyed, and the groups engaged well with the topics.  This created a very fulfilling discussion and enjoyment by all.

The module is an overview of the topic, dealing with compassion and wellbeing in the workplace, and was developed in response to the high levels of stress and burnout being experienced by health care workers, heightened by the Covid19 pandemic.  The workshop describes stories of health care professionals  working under stressful situations.  The participants observed through the stories that much of the behaviour of colleagues is connected to stress and that health care workers are reluctant to ask for help.   Skills such as mindful breathing, compassionate touch, and a STOP practice were exercised.  Safety in the workplace was discussed  and participants were encouraged to plan actions to create safe working environments.  This led into a discussion about how different choices impact outcomes.  The participants enjoyed retelling the stories of the stressed health care workers, suggesting different choices in behaviour and responses.   The workshop ended with a discussion about how we can focus on our wellbeing in the workplace.  Some helpful ideas were discussed , for example team meetings and supportive chats.  The workshop received very positive feedback.

The idea behind offering the workshop was to often materials and methods that educators in Primafamed might use to introduce the topic of compassion and wellbeing to undergraduate and postgraduate students, registrars and staff. If anyone would like to know more about the module, you would be welcome to contact Suzaan Sutherland (SUNSTRIPE administrator) on ssutherland@sun.ac.za.

SUNSTRIPE is part of the STRIPE HIV project, an initiative of AFREhealth. Go to https://stripe-website-dev.globalhealthapp.net/ for more information.