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ACT 2021 Featured Capstone:

HEAL – Compassion Training for Health Professionals

Robin Amerena

Doctor – Melbourne, Australia



Who did your Capstone Project serve ?
Initially, I intended to serve health care professionals where I work in Melbourne, Australia. This included nurses, recovery nurses, day-of-surgery admission nurses, theatre technicians, and staff who comprise of both senior and junior doctors. The final audience became broader because there was a keen interest amongst the staff.

What was the suffering that your project addressed?
The foundational aim was to reduce both home-based personal stress and work-based stress in the health care professionals by providing education, insight and practical tools to achieve enhanced self-compassion practices as well as active compassion for family friends and colleagues. 

How did this project address that suffering?
My project has been exceptionally timely considering the enormous pressure the COVID pandemic has placed on hospital staff. I wanted to raise awareness and provide practical tools for staff to improve their sense of gratitude, equanimity and overall wellbeing thus promoting resilience in the face of an ongoing crisis. Long term, my aim is to extend the project to all departments in our hospital, as well as other private and public hospitals in Melbourne.

Who was your audience and how many people participated? 
13 people from 29 years to 65 years participated in my HEAL workshop. The group was comprised of doctors and specialty nurses of varying degrees of seniority.

How was the project delivered (the format)? 
My project was delivered over Zoom as an interactive experiential workshop series. I also created a brand-new website with a personal statement, information, explanation, resources, links and podcasts, as well as a registration page.

What was the reported impact on or feedback from participants? On yourself? 
My survey results indicated a mild to moderate stress reduction at work, at home or both, for almost all participants (83 %). Additionally, high degrees of satisfaction with the different elements of the course were reported such as quality of presentation, quality of educational material, and the usefulness of the tools for future application. 

How has the ACT Program helped you become an Ambassador of Compassion? 
The ACT compassion principles that assisted me the most were Common Humanity, Self-Compassion and Equanimity. ACT encouraged me to be courageous and keep moving forward with my project. I would never have done this without the clear steps and timeline which ACT provided. As a result, I can see clear pathways which I have the option to pursue in the future to make an ongoing impact in my profession.

What advice would you give to someone who's considering participating in the ACT Program? 
My advice to those considering joining ACT 2022 is to take a deep breath and throw yourself into the process. The course will be a catalyst to delve deep into yourself and re-emerge transformed with enhanced positive traits that surprisingly allow you to achieve things that earlier you may have considered impossible. 



Be the change!

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