Book Launch Event - Fisher Leadership

Book Launch Event

In March 2022 Fisher Leadership welcomed a cross-section of the healthcare sector to our St Kilda Rd offices for the official launch of the book ‘Experiences of Health Workers in the COVID-19 Pandemic, In Their Own Words’, authored by Professor Marie Bismark, Professor Karen Willis, Dr Sophie Lewis & Associate Professor Natasha Smallwood.

The book was based on the authors’ study of Australian COVID-19 Frontline Health Workers and examined the severity and prevalence of mental health issues, as well as the social, workplace and financial disruptions experienced by Australian healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. With over 9500 respondents, it was the largest multi-occupation survey globally, and highlighted the need to develop strategies and services to ‘future-proof’ the mental health and wellbeing of this workforce.

Remarkably this was the first time all four authors had been able to meet face to face, making the evening even more special! Thank you to Dawn O’Neil AM for hosting discussions.

Associate Professor Natasha Smallwood stressed the number one priority is the vital need for the health sector to invest in #leadershipdevelopment. Leaders within the sector must be more than experts in critical care. They require the skills, strategies and training to manage their teams, while also providing exceptional patient care.

In her career of qualitative research, Professor Karen Willis has never seen such extraordinary engagement from research participants. The data reveals that this is not an individual issue. This is not about telling people to “be more resilient”. We need to learn from these firsthand accounts and address the systemic issues within the healthcare system. These issues existed before COVID. In the words of one frontline worker, the pandemic has simply shone a light on the cracks.

Although the reflections within the book demonstrate a unique level of rawness and vulnerability, Professor Marie Bismark shared that there are also many findings reflective of good leadership.

Dr Sophie Lewis highlighted the importance for frontline workers to feel seen, heard and valued.

These crucial skills are teachable. Dawn O’Neil AM reflected that for whole system change we need a burning platform. The pandemic and this extraordinary research provide the burning platforms. We now need to respond.

We have 5 copies of this amazing book to give away! Be one of the first 5 people to email with your mailing address details and you will be sent a copy.

To listen to or read the interview:

No, thank you.