Ep 1: The Origins of Nurse Wellbeing Mission

Posted August 22, 2022


Show Notes —

Welcome to the introduction to the Nurse Wellbeing Mission podcast! In this introductory episode, your host, Dr. Nathan lllman (Clinical Psychologist), discusses his professional journey with supporting nurses and other healthcare staff and how his personal experiences led him to commit to helping the nursing and midwifery workforce.

The podcast is designed to support the well-being of nurses and midwives through:

  • Conversations with industry leaders and researchers who specialize in nurse/midwife wellbeing.
  • Practical, how-to episodes from Nathan, covering a range of mental health and wellbeing topics.
  • Inspiring stories from nurses and midwives about their own personal wellbeing challenges and journeys.

If you’re a nurse or midwife interested in joining our Nurse Wellbeing Mission community, head over to our website and Facebook group:

Website: https://www.nursewellbeingmission.com

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/nursewellbeingmission

Transcription —

Nathan Illman 00:09

Welcome to Nurse Well-being Mission podcast. My name is Nathan Illman. And I’m your host. Now, I hope you like the intro music, I selected that piece of music. So I thought it was quite fun and kind of summery and just put me in a good mood. So I think it’s quite a nice little jingle to have at the beginning of the episodes. So this is the first episode of the Nurse Well-being Mission podcast. And it’s really my opportunity to introduce myself, talk to you about why I think this podcast is important, and hopefully capture your attention and convince you that it would be a good idea to continue listening to the podcast. And I’ll give you a little bit more of a sneak peek around what kind of episodes will be coming up in the future.

Nathan Illman 00:53

So as I said, my name is Nathan, and I’m a clinical psychologist, I’m based in the UK. And I have a particular interest in supporting nurses mental health and well being from a number of different experiences I had in the past. So one of the primary experiences I had was supporting nurses in roles I had working as a clinical psychologist, particularly in brain injury rehabilitation. So I worked in lots of multidisciplinary teams, and worked with lots of amazing nursing staff in different hospitals. And for anyone who’s worked in that kind of setting, as you will know, it can be really challenging.

Nathan Illman 01:31

There’s lots of distress around with patients and families, there’s significant disability and death that you’re exposed to. And also the behaviors that are kind of exhibited by patients. And sometimes family members as well, can be quite upsetting for staff to have to work with. So I had taken upon myself in previous roles to provide some support to the nursing staff. I just saw how little support they got really in terms of, I guess kind of from a professional perspective, but also at an organizational level.

Nathan Illman 02:02

Clinical psychologists get lots of support really emotional support for the work we do. It’s kind of built into the structure of our profession, with things like regular supervision from a senior colleague, and really just peer support is very, very common. And time has carved out for that in our profession. But I noticed within nursing, it was a very different story.

Nathan Illman 02:25

So even at that early stage of my career, I was really interested in supporting nurses, and sort of fast forward several years, I had a big role in supporting other support staff and different roles. So particularly support workers, and just really loved it really loved supporting the people who were supporting their clients, patients, service-users.

Nathan Illman 02:47

Then last year, I had another personal and very powerful experience with lots of nurses that really led to my desire to set up nurse while being mission and create this podcast and, really work on helping nurses basically. So unfortunately, my dad was taken ill after a surgery last year, and he got several infections and spent three months in ICU in the UK. And I spent a lot of time with nurses at his bedside, a lot of time being educated by them and getting information about what was going on with him. But also just when I was visiting, you know, watching them do their interventions with him and just interacting with him. And I just witnessed some amazing compassionate care and I chat to the nurses sometimes. And you know, I know that within their organization, they were definitely well being programs and there were things going on. But again, it really just highlighted the need to me to help nurses really providing them better support and also preventing trying to prevent kind of mental health conditions. So helping nurses and midwives be more prepared for the roles that they’re going into.

Nathan Illman 03:54

So already my dad died after this these few months in ICU. But this experience, one of the really positive things that came out of it solidified my desire to support nurses. And that’s where I’m at now. So this is the first episode and a podcast series that will be designed to provide nurses with practical tips and tools and strategies to help them with their own individual well being but also I’m extremely interested in the organizational role in supporting nurses well being so as you will know as a nurse or midwife listening to this or someone who works in a hospital or healthcare system.

Nathan Illman 04:33

It’s not just down to individual nurses to prepare themselves for managing stress or trauma for example, there is a massive role for organizations to change the conditions that will support nurses mental health and well being and to prevent preventable psychological illness psychological distress. So as a clinical psychologist, I have a background in understanding in detail about mental health conditions and what leads to the development have mental health conditions. Whilst obviously this gives me a particular skill set, I wouldn’t really even say that it’s that that makes me a kind of specialist and well placed to do this work, I’d say it’s really that in combination with my own lived experience of mental health conditions, both myself and in my family, and having worked on my own well being, you know, really quite intensively over the past 10 years, I’d say really turning things around, and really walking my talk, essentially. So authenticity, and putting into practice, the evidence based research in my own life is something I’m big on.

Nathan Illman 05:34

So what you will get from this podcast is me having conversations with people who are as interested and passionate about supporting nurses as myself, that will be nurse, researchers, there’ll be individual nurses who are obviously working in different roles. And you’re also going to hear solo episodes from me. So I’ll be providing kind of how-to episodes, are we talking about particular issue or problem, or just an aspect of well being that is very relevant for nurses, and I’ll be talking about some of the research literature and how to implement things to break things down for people, individuals, but also for people working in organizations as well.

Nathan Illman 06:13

So just to give you an example, a bit of a taster of what we’ve got coming up in the next couple of months, I’ve got a couple of solo episodes for me that we’re going to be looking at really understanding what preventative mental health is, and how does that apply to nurses. So thinking about some of the ways that nurses can be given skills and tools to help prevent mental health conditions in the workplace. But again, also looking at how organizations play a role in this.

Nathan Illman 06:39

I’ll also be talking about self-care what effective self-care looks like, and also really examining some of the barriers to effective self-care. So looking at the research literature and, and conversations I’ve had with nurses and thinking about what gets in the way, if you guys kind of, of caring for yourself developing that healthy relationship with yourself and, and not self-sacrificing so much with patients and with your work.

Nathan Illman 07:02

I’ve also got some amazing conversations I’ve already recorded, I’ll be speaking to some old colleagues of mine looking at, for example, how to prevent post-traumatic stress disorder and whether that’s possible and talking to another colleague of mine about suicide in nursing and the tragic result of harassment and bullying and what we can do to prevent that.

Nathan Illman 07:23

So episodes are going to be released every couple of weeks. And if you don’t want to have to go to the effort of trying to find them every couple of weeks, I really recommend you subscribe now on whatever platform that you get your podcasts from, it may be Spotify, or iTunes. So do that straight away after this, and you will get Nurse Wellbeing Mission podcast episode delivered straight to your device, whether it’s your computer or your phone.

Nathan Illman 07:48

And the final thing is that I’ve set up a Facebook group called the nurse wellbeing mission Facebook group. And in that I provide videos of myself kind of explaining some of the self-care strategies I use in my own life, and how these things can apply to you as a nurse or midwife. And I provide written resources. And in that group, you’re also going to get some exclusive first access to some of the conversations that I have with people for the podcast, and also some other live events as well as totally free. All of this stuff that I’m providing in the group is really just at no cost. And I really want to develop a community of nurses and midwives who are interested in this stuff and interested in supporting each other as well and making real effective change within healthcare systems, but also at the educational level. So for nurses in their training and providing better support for them.

Nathan Illman 08:39

So hopefully, I’ve whet your appetite enough to come back and listen to episode two of this podcast. I am really excited to be bringing this project together and actually delivering on it. It’s something that’s been in motion for a little while for me. Super excited to just bring you more and hopefully be great content for you. So thanks so much for listening to this episode. I hope to have you back the next one.