Emergency department and radiology staff get exercising for patient health

Dr Jan Bone, left, has worked with three others to bring her workplace, The Christchurch Hospital ED, closer together, ...
David Alexander

Dr Jan Bone, left, has worked with three others to bring her workplace, The Christchurch Hospital ED, closer together, lead by healthy example, and therefore provide better care.

Christchurch Hospital's emergency department, one of the busiest in Australasia, is employing a unique way to get the best for its patients.

About 300 staff from the department, along with another 300 from the hospital's radiology unit, have started a 100-day exercise challenge in a bid to lead by example and encourage a healthier lifestyle among would-be patients.

The EDGE 100 Day Challenge, an acronym for Emergency Department Get Exercising, uses a point-based system to reward staff for getting out and active. Double points are gained for getting out with colleagues and more again if those people work across the department's differing disciplines – medical, nursing, reception, ward aides, radiographers and so on.

The EDGE 100 Day Challenge trophy, a "brilliant piece of art" made by Laura Joyce's mother.
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The EDGE 100 Day Challenge trophy, a "brilliant piece of art" made by Laura Joyce's mother.

"With that many people in your work place, it's really hard to know lots of people. How well we run the place is absolutely determined by how well people work together," organiser Dr Jan Bone said.

"We learned valuable lessons in the earthquakes about that."

Staff will compete with RAGE – Radiology Get Exercising – with the winner awarded a trophy for their efforts, "and of course honour and glory".

About 100 staff from Christchurch Hospital kicked off the EDGE 100 Day Challenge by joining runners in the Asics 5K ...
ALDEN WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ

About 100 staff from Christchurch Hospital kicked off the EDGE 100 Day Challenge by joining runners in the Asics 5K Series at Hagley Park on Tuesday.

Bone, who came up with the idea alongside colleagues Laura Joyce, Karen Brown, and Joyce's husband Aaron Morgan – an IT professional who designed the website and activity logging system – said none of the group had heard of any initiative quite the same before they began in 2016.

"It went unbelievably nuts, in a really good way. What we found was things absolutely changed at work in terms of how people were [both physically and mentally]."

People who previously might not have even known the names of others had become close, she said.

"It's heartwarming to see that and it's so much happier at work. People look after each other better when they care a bit more about each other and, without a doubt, that crosses over into better patient care. You can absolutely see that."

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More than 100 members kicked the challenge off on Tuesday evening by joining runners in the Asics 5K Series at Hagley Park.

Bone said this year families were also encouraged to take part, again earning extra points for the challenge.

"I think if your family life is happy you're a much happier person, and we think of our place as our ED family – we're a family together, and so we should be looking after each other.

"We could all do with things that make us feel better at work and at home."

She believed the initiative had "huge potential" and hoped more businesses and other organisations could be encouraged to get their staff involved in similar projects.

"It does take a lot of work, for sure, but it's fun work and the spinoff, seeing people and how they change, is an absolute feel-good."

 - Stuff

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