Operation Pink Shirt Day

Middlemore Hospital in the pink!

It’s fair to say that 2020 has been a pretty tough year for health workers. For anyone working in the health sector, the implications of Covid-19 are acutely at the forefront of everyday life.

But according to Joanna Sinclair, SMO Wellbeing Advisor and Consultant Anaesthetist  at Auckland’s Middlemore Hospital, COVID-19 hasn’t dampened her team’s enthusiasm for supporting the Pink Shirt Day kaupapa for the third year now, and in fact, has strengthened their resolve to promote it. Last year was a great success and preparations are well underway for 2020 celebrations.

Last November a wellbeing survey revealed that 20% of the team had experienced bullying or harassment, and Jo feels that's unacceptable for Middlemore. 

“Of course we can’t necessarily wear the pink shirts because we’re in theatre, but we support the kaupapa. I started sewing pink theatre hats and a colleague managed to source some pink scrubs to wear,” Jo says. “We give the trainee doctors them for free to show support but we sell them to the consultants! The theatre nurses really got behind it last year and held a breakfast to fundraise. We also scattered the Kōrero Diversi-tea cards around the table and people were having some great conversations from that!”

Pink all around the hospital

It’s not just the medical team at Middlemore that get behind Pink Shirt Day. Elixir Cafe, one of the coffee outlets for staff and visitors, put stickers on around 500 cups last Pink Shirt Day and dressed up in pink. “They put a lovely message on their social media pages to let staff know that they don’t tolerate any bullying and offer their space as a place to come where they can feel safe, brighten their day and have a chat if needed. They are so friendly and remember people’s names, and that kindness brings a lot of smiles to people who probably need it”, Jo says.

Jo says it hasn’t been difficult finding colleagues to help get the day off the ground. Her advice to other healthcare providers who want to celebrate the day is to start doing something in your own area and it will soon grow. “There are so many great resources to use. It's easy to lead by example - you could even challenge another department to join in, or talk to your HR or comms teams to make sure they know about it. Just start - something is better than nothing!”

MMHosp 2

“Kōrero Mai, Kōrero Atu, Mauri Tū, Mauri Ora – Speak Up, Stand Together, Stop Bullying!”