Griffith University medical student Alexandra Wilson has received a Global Voices scholarship to attend the World Health Organisation’s World Health Assembly this month in Geneva.

The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of the World Health Organisation, which focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board to determine the policies of the Organisation.

Ms Wilson’s policy proposal is to have compulsory self-care development implemented for healthcare workers to reduce the amount of mental health issues within the industry.

With the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners finding patient safety incidents are twice as likely to occur due to doctor burnout, Ms Wilson said the mental health of healthcare workers needs to be prioritised to ensure a strong, robust workforce for Australia’s population.

“Poor physician mental health has been a longstanding personal and international concern, with the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting and exacerbating the rates of burnout, depression, moral injury, and vicarious trauma our healthcare workers face,” Ms Wilson said.

“Self-care is the first line of defence for healthcare workers, including spiritual practices, relaxation techniques, e-mental health services, healthy lifestyles, family and friend connections, adequate sleep, vacation time, recreational activities, mindfulness, and meditation.

Alexandra Wilson

Medical student Alexandra Wilson

“My research and involvement in wellbeing advocacy, events and initiative development, self-care strategies, and suicide prevention training has seen the continuous professional development (CPD) of medical practitioners promoted and proposed for integration into the Australian healthcare workforce, so my proposal aims to formalise this.”

Stumbling into policy writing three years ago, Ms Wilson is a strong believer in the voices of young people, students and professionals bringing fresh insight and real change to long-standing issues, as well as leading change for future generations.

“I’ve previously been involved in advocacy and research projects with a focus on community education, which are skills I hope to continue developing and transferring for the greater Australian population,” she said.

“I am looking forward to attending the World Health Assembly and the policy fellowship and bringing back new knowledge and skills to serve our community.

“This opportunity is going to challenge me personally and professionally to network, learn from national and international experts in the field and share my contributions and passion for advocacy.”

3: Good Health and Well-being
UN Sustainable Development Goals 3: Good Health and Well-being