Wellbeing & inclusion

Students gathering at UNSW Sydney Kensington campus

The School of Clinical Medicine wants all our staff, students and affiliates to thrive. To do this, we need to ensure that we provide a safe, supportive and equitable environment for education, research, and engagement that embraces diversity and treats all people with dignity and respect and recognises the value of each individual. We strive to ensure that people feel safe to bring their 'authentic selves' to work and that we treat each other with kindness and respect.

Healthcare environments can be high stress and high stakes, but research shows that incorporating the values of inclusivity, diversity, and equity benefits staff, students, and patients alike. 

  • Being inclusive is:
    • The practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalised.
    • It ensures that people feel that they are being treated fairly and respectfully, are valued and belong.
    • Increases engagement and innovation.
    • Increases performance.
    • Increases diversity.
    • Increases wellbeing.
    • Improves employee experience.
    Some important (and difficult) aspects of this are:
    • An awareness of your own bias and blind spots.
    • Making a visible commitment that goes beyond ‘words’.
    • Getting ‘buy in’ from staff to commit and potentially change engrained ‘ways of working’.
    • Cultural intelligence and sensitivity.
    • Collaborating effectively.
  • "Psychological safety means an absence of interpersonal fear. When psychological safety is present, people are able to speak up with work-relevant content."

    Amy Edmonson

    This means, creating a safe environment in which people can express their thoughts and ideas.

    Some practical tips for promoting psychological safety:

    • Make it a priority
    • Share success and failure stories
    • Lead by example
    • Create space for innovation
    • Embrace productive conflict – ensuring that interactions are respectful
    • Encourage people to speak up/speak out
  • In the School of Clinical Medicine, we have zero tolerance for bullying, harassment, or sexual misconduct. The FMH has developed guidelines to support staff and students who experience incidents of bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct within UNSW Medicine &Health. They should be read in conjunction with UNSW policies and procedures: Code of Conduct and Values, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Policy, Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Policy, as well as any procedures related to  external organisations.

    The following are definitions taken from existing UNSW policies: 

    • Bullying: Defined by Safe Work Australia as “Repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety.”
    • Harassment: Harassment is unwelcome conduct on the basis of certain protected attributes that could reasonably be anticipated to cause a person to be offended, humiliated or intimidated.
    • Discrimination: Discrimination occurs when a person, or a group of people, is treated less favourably (either directly or indirectly) than another person or group because of a protected attribute.
    • Sexual Misconduct: Sexual misconduct includes sexual harassment or sexual assault, sexual touching, sexual acts, conduct involving child abuse material, making or distributing sexually explicit photos or videos without consent, or certain other behaviours of a sexual nature. UNSW has a Sexual Misconduct Portal where a report can be made. This portal can also be used to report instances of harassment. UNSW First Responders  are a network of specially trained staff and who will listen to you and help you access information about support and reporting.
  • Wellbeing deserves a special mention. The mental and physical health of medical students and doctors in Australia is of particular concern within the healthcare community. Research and media reports have highlighted the high rates of suicide, depression, anxiety, substance use and self-medication throughout the profession. Attention to the points raised above will help with wellbeing, but staff and students also need to  articulate any problems that they are having and reach out for help, without any embarrassment or fear of repercussions. The following sites provide  helpful resources.