A patient and audiologist in conversation

How to incorporate well-being into your clinic and life

By Clint McLean

Well-being seems to be on everyone’s lips these days – and for good reason. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that higher levels of well-being are “associated with a decreased risk of disease, illness and injury; better immune functioning; speedier recovery; and increased longevity. Individuals with high levels of well-being are more productive at work and are more likely to contribute to their communities.” That’s a lot of benefits.

So what is well-being? In a nutshell, it is feeling and functioning well. Most definitions include physical, mental and social health and consider home life, work life and social interactions. And many explicitly state that well-being is not merely the absence of illness, but that you consider yourself to be in good health and thriving.

Good for the individual and good for the employer

From a hearing care perspective, it’s not hard to see how hearing well is not only part of well-being but can contribute to improving it through greater involvement, more fulfilling social interactions, and easing of hearing-related challenges. Well-being, and by extension, healthy hearing, are good for the individual, good for employers, and good for society at large.

But well-being is not only important for our hearing care clients, it’s important for clinicians and their employers as well.

According to decades-long global studies of well-being conducted by Gallup, “High well-being is a retention booster and talent magnet. To keep your most valuable employees, you must help them live thriving lives.” Gallup goes on to report that employees who believe their employer cares about their overall well-being are 69% less likely to actively job search, 3x more likely to be engaged at work, and 5x more likely to advocate for their company as a place to work and to strongly agree they trust the leadership of their organization.

Improve well-being at home and in the clinic

This paper by renowned hearing care researchers Louise Hickson, Melanie Ferguson, and Joseph Montano, among others, will help you consider well-being in your audiologic rehabilitation practice with an evidence-based plan that includes such steps as Identifying the client’s social-emotional well-being and Incorporate social-emotional needs and goals in an individualized management plan.

For hearing care professionals, we at the Ida Institute created an entire evidence-based course called Clinician Well-being: The Science of Self-care. The four-part course helps learners identify, prevent, and address such things as vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue, and burnout. The course also teaches learners to develop their own professional fatigue warning scale and wellness wheel, a self-care strategy, and a framework for debriefing within a clinical setting.

“Since burnout is both an individual and organizational crisis, wellness is both an organizational and individual responsibility,” says Dr. Dunay Schmulian, co-creator and presenter of Clinician Well-being: The Science of Self-care.

To take the course Clinician Well-being: The Science of Self-care, sign up for free to the Ida Learning Hall.

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