11h 30m CPDSeminar

Reducing Anxiety in the Healthcare Setting Seminar

Two-Day Seminar for Healthcare Staff


3 - 4 May 2021
Oaks on Market
60 Market St
Melbourne VIC3000

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Why Attend

Anxiety is a common mental health condition, but what happens when healthcare staff have the condition themselves? It is essential to recognise the individuals experiencing these common mental health conditions to ensure that holistic care and support is provided. Attend this seminar to better understand:

  • A trauma-informed approach to knowing your colleagues
  • The grey rainbow of different anxiety disorders
  • Linking food and mood
  • The burden of anxiety and panic attacks
  • Does compassion fatigue exist and much, much more…

Need for Program

Anxiety and anxiety disorders are common disorders that can occur as a consequence of work-related stressors. The ability of nurses and other health professionals to recognise these conditions in their colleagues and themselves is highly dependent on a sound knowledge base. There is a timely need for an evidence-based update on anxiety and anxiety disorders so that health professionals are better positioned and informed to support a person with these common mental health conditions.

Purpose of Program

To provide nurses and other health professionals who work across a range of general healthcare settings with a comprehensive update on anxiety and anxiety disorders in healthcare staff.

Your Learning Outcomes

  1. Improve your understanding of anxiety and anxiety disorders
  2. Examine the characteristics of anxiety, including the signs and symptoms of anxiety and anxiety disorders
  3. Analyse a range of treatments that can be used to care for a person who has anxiety or an anxiety disorder
  4. Develop person-centred and evidence-based care plans for people experiencing anxiety or an anxiety disorder


Day One

8:30am - Registration and Refreshments


Introduction and Welcome to Seminar

This introductory session will address your specific learning needs. It includes:

  • What are the main themes of this seminar?
  • How can you align the seminar learning outcomes with your own learning goals?
  • What learning gap will you close by attending this seminar?


Healthcare Workers and the Mental Health Journey

Mental illness can be complex and, at times, unpredictable. Its prevalence and level of severity depend on an individual’s past experiences, genetic makeup, access to treatment and support from others, as well as education. This session will look at the differences between acute and long-term mental illness. Topics include:

  • How should we view recovery?
  • Why is “hope for recovery” so important for every person living with a mental illness?
  • What is the difference between acute and long-term mental illness?
  • How prevalent is acute versus long-term mental illness?
  • Can a persistent mental illness impact a professional’s ability to work?


Grey Rainbow – Different Types of Anxiety Disorders

This session will discuss the different types of anxiety disorders. It will consider the atypical ways that anxiety disorders may present, such as:

  • generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • social phobia
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • panic disorder

11:00am - Morning Tea


What Are You Eating on Your Break? Linking Food and Mood

Modern research is challenging the paradigm that poor mental health can cause a poor diet. It is possible that changes in mental health – such as stress or anxiety – can affect our dietary behaviours (Hello, comfort eating on night duty!). However, we are now beginning to understand how better quality diets can improve a person’s mental health and perhaps even prevent some conditions. With nutrition widely accepted as a key aspect of personal and professional wellbeing, it is time to look at the relationship between nutrition and mental health. In this session, we look at:

  • Is there a known connection between the brain, addiction studies and what we eat?
  • Diet, depression and anxiety – is there a link?
  • What is known about stress, sugar and saturated fat and mood?
  • What are some simple approaches to introducing better nutrition into your busy shifts?


The Burden of Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Panic attacks are sometimes seen in a person with an underlying anxiety disorder. They can be debilitating and awful. This session will look at this particular manifestation. It includes:

  • What is the difference between a severe anxiety attack and a panic attack?
  • How can you help a person having a panic attack?
  • What are some simple techniques that can be used to manage anxiety in a busy healthcare environment?

1:15pm - Lunch and Networking


Reducing the Risk of Suicide in Healthcare Professionals

Working in the healthcare system can take its toll on mental, emotional and physical health. Sadly, for some it becomes overwhelming. This session will look at:

  • Are healthcare professionals more at risk than others?
  • Are they less likely to ask for help?
  • Why is it that any attempt to end ones’ life can cause harm to a career and what can we do to protect healthcare workers from this?
  • Warning signs – how identifiable are they?
  • Where and how can a healthcare professional seek confidential and safe help?

3:00pm - Afternoon Tea


Knowing Your Colleagues – A Trauma-Informed Approach

What’s wrong? Why are you acting that way? We can often quickly judge a colleague’s actions during a shift. However, there is often an underlying reason for why they might be engaging in particular behaviours. Understanding the impact of adverse childhood events and cumulative stressors later in life is essential if we are to create a safe environment that promotes resilience. This session discusses emotions and includes:

  • How can adverse childhood events impact the way someone is behaving?
  • What are the effects of chronic stress and trauma?
  • What is a trauma-informed approach?
  • How can you incorporate a trauma-informed approach when relating to colleagues?

4:30pm - Close of Day One of Seminar

Day Two

9:00am - Commencement of Day Two


Welcome to Day Two and Review

Day two of the seminar begins with an opportunity to review the content presented from day one. It will assist you to embed key knowledge and provides an opportunity to converse and learn from other attendees.


More than Just “Stressed” – Understanding Anxiety

At one point or another, most of us are likely to experience some level of anxiety. Often, a degree of anxiety is beneficial to keep us safe and motivated. However, when consumed by it, it can quickly become debilitating and life-altering. This session will consider:

  • What is stress and how is it beneficial?
  • How does anxiety differ from stress?
  • Anxiety versus an anxiety disorder – what are the key differences?
  • How can you manage stress and normal anxiety?


Resilience Is Essential

Feeling well is an important part of how our life pans out. Have you got to the end of your shift and felt utterly exhausted, frustrated or even resentful? Have you struggled to find the time to care for your patients as well as your loved ones as a result of feeling burned out? Knowing yourself and how to care for yourself can help you to get the best out of your professional and personal lives. This session will build strategies for wellbeing and look at:

  • What is resilience?
  • How do we develop resilience?
  • How does your outlook on life help in developing and maintaining resilience?

11:00am - Morning Tea


The Impact of Stress

Stress impacts us all at various times. But healthcare workers, in particular, may face some unique stressors. This session will look at the potentially harmful impact of stress and what we can do to counteract it. It will include:

  • From lethargy to chaos! What is the stress arc?
  • Stress and disease – how does chronic stress affect our physiology?
  • How does stress impact others?
  • How can we diminish the stress in ourselves and others?
  • The art of gratitude – how can you show that you value your colleagues?


Is There a Link between Anxiety and Depression in Healthcare?

Anxiety and depression can be exacerbated by one another and present simultaneously. This session will look at the link between anxiety and depression and how they affect one another. Topics include:

  • Why might anxiety and depression present together?
  • How do depression and anxiety affect one another?
  • Are they individually managed or managed simultaneously?
  • What tools assist in diminishing anxiety and its consequences?

1:00pm - Lunch and Networking


Treating Anxiety – Benzodiazepines and Other Options

Non-medicine options should always be explored before resorting to pharmacological solutions for the treatment of anxiety. If medications are indicated as an adjunctive treatment for anxiety, benzodiazepines are the most commonly used. It includes:

  • What alternatives to medications exist?
  • What are the indications for benzodiazepine use and how do they work?
  • What are the common adverse reactions and side effects of benzodiazepines?
  • What is the duration of use and how can they be deprescribed?

2:45pm - Afternoon Tea and Coffee


Exercise – How the Body Affects a Person’s Mood

There’s a tidal wave of extremely good quality research published every week on the benefits of using exercise to both treat depression and anxiety but also prevent them. This session will look at:

  • Why the “No Pain No Gain” approach is not necessary (and often fails)
  • What exercise does to your brain and gut that helps to treat depression and anxiety
  • How much and when should you exercise to enjoy its benefits
  • Why exercise might reduce your chances of cognitive decline, even dementia


Wrap Up, Review and Further Questions

4:30pm - Close of Seminar and Evaluations

educator image

Geoffrey Ahern

Geoffrey Ahern is a senior mental health clinician and educator who splits his time between working with people in a mental health crisis in the ED setting and working proactively to educate other health professionals and the community about how to better understand mental health problems, as well as substance use and addiction. Over the years, he has gained extensive experience in emergency and trauma, rural nursing, alcohol and other drug counselling, and psychiatric nursing across both the public and private sectors. He holds a masters of health science (mental health and addiction). Geoff is particularly fascinated by the impact that exercise, nutrition, community, meaning and purpose, and practices like yoga have on a person’s mental health, as well as living a simple life of reflection, contentment and wonderment. Read More
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