This website is designed for both Managers and Aboriginal Health Staff.

MANAGERS

Follow the journey line to understand smoking triggers faced by your staff then visit the MANAGER’S TOOLBOX (at the end of the journey line) for info about creating a more supportive workplace for staff.

ABORIGINAL HEALTH STAFF

Follow the journey line to understand smoking triggers and the strategies available to support you, then visit MY PERSONAL JOURNEY for more resources.

The Journey Line

A DAY IN THE LIFE
OF A HEALTH WORKER:
Understanding the triggers
MORNING CUPPA
A morning cuppa can trigger smoking cravings. Aboriginal health staff report a wide range of smoking triggers.  Stress is a major one, but there are many others.
Managing Cravings

Have a planned strategy for managing cravings.

The 4 D’s can help when a craving hits:

Delay, Deep breathe, Drink water, Do something else.

Tips for managing cravings can be found here.

Managing Cravings

There are products like nicotine replacement therapy available to help manage cravings. Talk to your health professional to decide what is best for you.
You can find more info here.

GETTING TO WORK
Some health workers feel like a smoke when they get in the car to go to work.
SMOKEFREE SPACES

Smokefree homes and cars create healthy spaces for our mob and tackle the idea that smoking is ok. Put up stickers or magnets that warn against the harms of passive smoking. There are fines for smoking with kids in the car.

Smoking diary and apps

This smoking diary can help to Identify the places and events that trigger your smoking. Then you can make a plan for how to avoid the smokes. There is a free My Quit Buddy app now available to help on your journey.  

CLIENT/COMMUNITY EXPECTATIONS
Health workers sometimes feel they have to “know it all” when treating clients with complex needs. This can leave them feeling overwhelmed and stressed.
SUPPORT FROM THE TEAM

Identify the strengths of the people in your team and draw upon those strengths. You don’t have to carry the burden alone. It’s fine to tell a client you don’t know but will find out. 

DEFINED ROLE AND SUPPORT

A defined job description clear referral pathways and support in the clinic at all times can help health staff manage a demanding workload.

PRESSURE TO SMOKE WITH A CLIENT

There are situations where health workers feel under pressure to smoke with clients or to stand with them whilst they’re having a smoke. This is difficult especially if the client is an elder.

CLIENT RESPECT FOR POLICY

Some clients are not so good at respecting smokefree policy. Check out these tips for how to create a bond with clients without the smokes.

DISAGREEMENT WITH A WORKMATE

Disagreements do happen at work at times. 

OVERCOMING CONFLICT

Reflect on your reactions and body language and what you can do to dissipate the confrontation. Focus on the issue not personalities.

OVERCOMING CONFLICT

Working together to overcome challenges is important to get rid of the stress.

TEAM MEETING

When health staff feel disrespected at work it leads to stress. Stress is both a trigger for smoking and a barrier to quitting. Sometimes non-Aboriginal people may be culturally insensitive. It’s really important that health workers feel valued and culturally safe in the workplace.

VALUING STAFF

Strategies for open two-way dialogue between staff and management can be found here. Watch these stories that demonstrate how staff feel valued and that their input is important to the health service. 

CULTURAL SAFETY

Cultural and mutual respect is vital for workplace harmony. Cultural safety training is essential for staff at all levels but it’s not just about yearly training. Cultural safety requires a whole-of-service approach embedded in all policies and procedures.
A national Anti-Racism strategy Racism: it stops with me was launched in 2012 to tackle this unnecessary stress for Aboriginal people. 

GO OUT AND GRAB SOME LUNCH
Take a break in the middle of the day to enjoy a healthy lunch. Fresh air and a walk can help you recharge for the afternoon.
BOOK A HEALTH CHECK

Being sick is stressful. Make your health a priority – it’s as important to look after your health as other peoples. Book regular health checks and make a plan for how to be healthy in every way.

STAFF WELLBEING

Health services can support staff wellbeing through encouraging regular health checks, exercise, healthy diet choices, providing quit smoking supports and stress management training.

STAFF WELLBEING

Here are some tips for taking small steps towards improving your health.
Some people may consider cultural practices in their journey like consulting a Nangkeri practitioner or having a cleansing  smoking ceremony.

ATTEND A TRAINING WORKSHOP
Lack of knowledge is a barrier to quitting smoking. Workers in your service can provide workshops on a wide range of topics to give you the confidence you need to quit. If you don’t have a local worker talk to your manager about training you can get through other providers such as Cancer Council SA.
QUITSKILLS TRAINING

Cancer Council SA offers an award-winning 3-day QuitSkills Training for Aboriginal Health Workers. It is free of charge delivered nationally and an excellent way for staff to increase knowledge around quitting smoking and supporting clients to do the same. New staff may not have received this training and can benefit both personally and in their clinical work. Others may benefit from refreshing this knowledge.

RECHARGE WITH AN ARVO CUPPA

Fatigue and the demands of work can be managed by regular short breaks and healthy activities. Rather than a ‘smoko’, breaks can include a short walk, a bite of an apple, or a healthy drink and yarn with a friend. You could also take a few minutes to call the Quitline.

QUITLINE 137 848

Aboriginal counsellors are available on the Quitline in every state and territory to support our mob.  It may be possible to call the Quitline whilst at work. Have a chat to your manager. 

ANSWER A CALL WITH SAD NEWS
We hear of the passing of family and friends due to chronic disease and other premature causes all too often. Our people grow stronger by coming together to support one another. There are some grief and loss services that you can seek out for professional support too.
CULTURAL LEAVE

Workplaces support staff to meet cultural obligations by providing cultural or compassionate leave. Funerals and sorry business are important family time and can include extensive travel and a number of days of activities. Negotiate leave openly with your manager to ensure both family and work obligations are met.

GRIEF AND LOSS SUPPORT

There are some grief and loss services that you can seek out for professional support too. Learn more by visiting the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia website.

LEAVE WORK AT WORK
Many health workers report that it’s difficult to ‘put down tools’ at the end of the day. It can feel like work is a 24/7 job. But at the end of the work day it’s important to focus on yourself. Now it’s time for you.
LOOKING AFTER YOURSELF

Take time to look after yourself. In this video Victorian Social and Emotional Wellbeing Workers share tips and strategies for keeping strong and well.

CALL PAST AUNTY'S
Many health workers are called upon to care for their extended family’s health. It is important that you take care of yourself too. Part of taking care of yourself is finding the balance between honouring family and personal responsibilities.
FINDING BALANCE

Caring for family and friends’ health can mean a lot of out of hours work. You might like to yarn with an Aunty or Uncle about what is happening to get some advice.  Here are ideas for how to have the confidence to set boundaries and refer on to the right services. 

GO TO THE SHOPS
When you see our people smoking near supermarkets or cafes it can feel like smoking is normal and acceptable. Don’t buy into it. Remember that successful quitters are on the increase and so are Smokefree spaces.
DENORMALISING SMOKING

There are deadly campaigns showing how smoking is no longer acceptable in our mob. Check out the campaigns below for inspiration:

Give Up The Smokes For Good

Daniel’s Story

Break the Chain

Founding 50

HEAD HOME FOR DINNER
It’s difficult to quit smoking if you live with another smoker or feel unsupported in your quit journey. Making healthy choices together (whether it be around smoking diet or other choices) is good for everyone.
PERSONAL SUPPORT

Having support from family friends and colleagues is vital for health workers wanting to quit and stay quit. Download the Family and Friend Support and the Colleague Support fact sheets and pass them on to get the support you need.

GET A GOOD NIGHTS REST
When you’re tired it’s hard to tackle challenges as they come up. Sleep is important for wellbeing and starting the day feeling fresh. Dim the lights half an hour before bed so you can wind down slowly. Turn off the TV computer and put down your mobile phone so your mind can switch off.
REFLECTION TIME

Put aside a few minutes (whilst in the shower or lying in bed) to reflect on the events of the day. You could think about ‘what have I put in to my body today?’ ‘what went well or not so well today?’ or ‘what am I grateful for today?’. Then you can make a plan for how you want the day to go tomorrow.

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