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Stress Buster -

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(generated from captions) breath and dizzy during a

training session, and had to be

treated immediately for an

irregular heart beat, a

condition that can be triggered

by the strain of endurance

sport. Touch wood, apart from

the heart scare I'm going

beautifully. Tomkins is

confident that treatment has

right the heart problem, but

he'll be very closely monitored

in the build-up to Beijing,

coach Brian Richardson counts

him has a huge asset to the

eight in the tough racing to

come. He's doing things at 42

that most 30-year-olds would be

proud of. He loves

competition, he loves the

challenge. Every day just

expecting so much of the crew,

and every stroke he expects you

on the ball. He sort of drives

the crew a little with his

expectations. 24-year-old Sam

Conrad, whose gather and

grandfather rowed for Australia

at the Olympics was 12 when

Jaime Tomkins won gold in

Atlanta and shares a boat with

the OARSman he idolised. It's

daunting, he's cool under

pressure, I must say, even when

the chips are down he seems to

perform. Work together. As we

come through 750. James

Tomkins is taking on perhaps

the biggest challenge since he

is last rowed in an Olympic

eight for Australia 20 years

ago. The boat performed

poorly, and only qualifieded

for Beijing after the Russian

crew was disqualified on drugs'

related offences. The good

thing about the boat class is

that it's a fickle event.

There's no form, it seems to

carry through from year to

year. So we weren't

ordinarily, this year we'll do

well. With James Tomkins in

the boat no competitors will be

taking Australia

lightly. Without a doubt I'd

put him out there with our greatest Olympian full

stop. Good work. Keep it

moving. Sport is my life , my

life is sport. So gold twice

in the fours, once in the pair,

why not in the eights. Paul

Lockyer with that report.

You'll find extended interviews

with James Tomkins and Nick

Green on the web site. That's

the program for tonight. We'll

be back at the same time

tomorrow. For now, goodnight. Closed Captions by CSI

Stress - it's an epidemic. and back pain plague our work places. Depression, anxiety, heart disease

Sending absenteeism soaring. Costing billions and ruining lives. believes we can beat stress. Top stress buster, Dr Niki Ellis, causes and change the way we work She's convinced we must attack the are damaged by stress. when people and places But change is never easy. I'm taking over for today. aged care facility Swan Care is a not-for-profit with a new sophisticated management. and more dependent than ever before. The residents of Swan are older can be incredibly stressful. Caring for them and I WANT IT. I haven't received dinner are growing older themselves Ironically, the carers and mental exhaustion. suffering from physical so pay rates remain low Government funding is tight

difficult. which makes replacing staff at either 11 or... Our shifts finish and the difficult conditions, Because of the low pay absenteeism is out of control which means the roster is a mess. we got carers to care for them. We got more aged people than

This leads to crushing workloads with unrest and stress increasing amongst even the most loyal staff. doesn't make any difference. It doesn't matter what we say, Believing they've done all they can. Swan's managers need new ideas. Or soon, there'll be no carers left. and it's very stressful. Mentally it's draining You just want to, you know, stand up and scream. Now, management has turned for help. to stress buster, Dr Niki Ellis

she must develop a plan Over the next few days, and help Swan Care to reduce the stress keep their carers at work caring. you're the CEO of Swan Care. Alright, Bill, in that position? How long have you been Mm-hmm. Six years. in the six years? What have you focused on

I'm a change manager. Well, I would say to introduce significant change. I'm about assisting organisations a high performance organisation. And that's about developing to the people management issues? How does that translate it down Our focus has really been on, of the organisation. on...delving into the culture in facilitating that change. To see how we might be able assist with the staff. And engaging authentically here in Swan Care? Is occupational stress an issue we haven't had any claims I don't think it really is, um, over the last three years. But when you talk to staff, out there on the floor. yes, I think that is problem How're you going today? John, Hi. Oh, I hope so. You ready for us? OK, great. (Both laugh) the stress source in their lives, I think a lot of it's all home-based. whether they admit or not, initiatives We do have a - a range of to try and, perhaps, assist them through those stressful periods. with their own little world. Usually they're preoccupied

initiative They don't want to take on new their normal practices. or do something outside of their, And that's an ongoing... all the time There's a problem in workplaces you have the strategy which is, you have the policy, on the ground. and then you have what's happening to the low-dependency unit. we're about to go down the perspective of the carers And actually find out whether that are on the floor is the same. I'm curious to find that out. I'm dying... How are you? You alright? of her intervention Niki will use the first days of the organisation, to build a picture its people and its problems. Coming in? Yeah. They're very caring here. for better treatment. You couldn't wish Fantastic. So you all agree on that. Yeah. we're having roast beef, Tomorrow for lunch, Or rump steak. lambs fry and bacon.

the busy time of the day So I imagine that the morning's Yeah. It's very busy. It's very stressful. Even very busy. If a carer happens to have a sicky, then of course, it puts a little bit more onto the next person.

So if one person has one sick day off, we can't cover it. So we have to try and get agency staff and they're not terribly reliable. So, it's because we haven't got enough staff, on staff.

Niki holds a focus group with the carers drilling down on the causes and effects of their stress. We felt comfortable in our seat when we were...with the old management. They came, the new management, they took the cushion seat and gave you a stool to sit on. OK? So it was a big change. Now, when somebody in management comes in

the residents say, "Who's that? never seen that person before." How often do you have the unplanned absences? One everyday. Nearly every day. But can I ask you about what impact that pressure has on you? If you push a person, how much can you push? You can push and push and one day it will just give in. You go home and you're just so tired you might just sit down and that's it, you know, there's nothing left. What I got from today was confirmation that there is a real problem here in carers. And that, they're demonstrating, what I would describe as stress responses. People talked about sleeplessness, fatigue, depression and feeling of not wanting to come work. To corroborate her findings, Niki meets with Jean - the carers direct boss. Jean, how stressful do you think the carers job is? I think it's really quite stressful in the scheme of things. It's um, it's a very, very demanding job. Another thing that came up in the focus group that I just wanted to feed back to you was the um, the sense they felt isolated from senior management. Does that surprise you? No, it doesn't surprise me. I mean I'm a member of the senior management team and I'm with them everyday but it's partly geographic because we're in a different building, different location altogether to the main administration building, where most of the senior managers are located. Back at the hotel, Niki starts pulling together a stress report. Hoping to find a way forward for Swan. Really quite a negative attitude towards senior management came out and they are removed geographically but it's not very far at all. So I think in a sense, the geographical remoteness has become a symbol of a cultural remoteness. I think what we're seeing are the cracks. I think the fact that absenteeism, seems to me, to have shot up in the last year that we've got these very early signs of plateauing of productivity. I think they're signs that you really can't count on, on that level of service delivery based on a sense of charity um, continuing. Niki is ready to tell it like it is. And then ask the people of Swan to help find solutions. I'm taking over for today. Yeah, that's OK. Impact on staff of high workload, this came over very powerfully. You know, it's starting to have an impact on people. They worry after hours, people talked about sleeplessness, fatigue, health problems associated with being run down, depression and a classic for occupational stress - feeling of not wanting to come to work. It's quite a graphic description and there was... ..a negative attitude towards senior management being removed, not really understanding their issues. It came out quite clearly, you know. I know it's hard, Jean, I know you've done everything you can but I think you've got to crack it. I think you've got to deal with the unplanned absences. I haven't got an answer but I know that if you don't deal with this, it's just going to be too difficult for staff. You know, this is, it's a real problem. Um, well, what I think we've got there is again an emphasis on two-way dialogue with carers. An action plan is agreed to. Absenteeism must be stopped. The roster must be improved.

And the quality of work life must be enhanced. Having made it clear that communications between management and staff is the key to reducing stress.

In two months, Niki will be back to check. I mean, I do think that our board and our management team genuinely value our staff. I know they work in a very tough environment. I felt that we'd been through a lot together. All the changes that have occurred in this organisation. So it still is disappointing to me when I hear those comments about lack of support. I don't think Jean has taken a particular personal, uh, you know,

concern about her having criticism directed at her particular level. And I think that she is the sort of person that will take it on board and see whether or not, she can genuinely um, do something better. I don't need to be their best friend but I would like to be a good manager to them. From the biblical story, came what term for a person helpful to one in distress? SOS? First aid? Rescue? No, they're called the good Samaritan. Oh. Oh yes. Because they come to your aid. Hello, love. We're here. (Groans) I came here at six o'clock this morning. I have not stopped. Have a sip of a drink, Annie. (Groans) Come on. And that's how it goes most of the days when we're short. Where's that poor bugger? Within days of Niki's departure it's clear that change will not be easy. Both girls in the medical office are off today. So they've taken someone off one of the floors to replace her. One of the girls on one of the floors is short as well.

On two floors, there's one carer to handle 28 residents. That's showering, dressing, and everything. Here we are, love. Oh, that's lovely. OK.

I've been here 14 years, 14 years. Yeah. As it is now, it's getting out of hand. Uh, I really don't know unless something gets done about it. Ohhh, I'm not go - I don't think I'm going to be doing it for long. OK, I'll leave you now. (Laughs) Next time they're going to tell me start early because we're short I'm going to tell them, put me down as I'm sick. I'm going to phone in. PAGER BEEPS Stuff it. I reckon that's my floor. Yeah, 224. Pressure is building on Jean, she follows Niki's advice and communicates directly with her staff. John, the HR manager also tries engaging more authentically. First, I think I really want to do is introduce or re-introduce the amended payroll query form. And if there is a problem, this is the best way to get it addressed. I think while I was here, I also... probably wanted to get back on track and probably not come to all of your meetings but give you an opportunity to voice any concerns that you've got. I'm more than happy to attend the meetings, uh, should you need to discuss any particular issue, at any time. Any questions? Well, thanks anyway. We'll pop back, ideally, I could come back on, say a monthly arrangement. You wouldn't want to see me much more than that. Certainly welcome to the coming back. Thank you, John. I'll leave those with... Where's the best...? John obviously decided to come to one of their meeting which was absolutely fantastic. There was a sense of, other than Jean, that the rest of the senior management team weren't really in touch with carer issues. (Chuckles) You know, turning up for a meeting for five minutes and dashing off as soon as you can maybe isn't authentic engagement. Have any of you got any questions or... Jean now introduces her own idea to reduce workload stress. She decides to redeploy staff from other positions onto the floors. Still two of you on the floor and it will still be the same times, really. You will have a third person between first and second floor and third and fourth floor who will be there to help you. So that she'll be sort of a floater between the floors, to help with those things. It sounds really good in theory putting those extra people on but if we can't fill the roster we've got now... Look, you can do the roster 100 different ways but the bottom line here is... We need more staff.

Well, we need the staff to come to work. And that's why I'm saying to you, that's why I'm saying to you, girls, look after yourselves. Whether our staff are here or not, we're still short-staffed. So those two peoples that are going to be floating, they won't be floating. They will fill, they will fill in the place of that person that's missing. So really when you look at it, we're not getting anywhere. How would you sort this? I haven't heard anyone come back to tell me. To ask, to tell me the answer. She tell us, "What do you think I should do?" She's hired here for a reason, that's her job to think what she's going to do and how we're going to get it. We're here to do our job and we do it, yeah? I mean, it doesn't take a genius to say hire some more people. But they don't want to spend the money too. So, there you go. NIKI: This is a really interesting...(Chuckles)

..situation now because I think, Jean's going some way to understand what their needs are, to address the problem, to find out, um, ways of fixing it up.

And, there's quite a deal of resistance. She's not getting much help from the team, uh, there's not really an attitude of, "OK, why don't we give that a go?" I think the fact that Jean is making such an effort, um, at the, the end of the day it will start to come back onto the staff themselves to contribute, as well. Hello, Reggie. Hello, Ann. Thank you for the showers. I did Mrs Herman. Pardon? You have Herman? This is the floater. The magic floater. (Laughs) See, so far so good. I got the help that I need, yeah. So I'm very happy with that.

The new roster is in place but the jury is still out. See, it's only one person, it's not two persons. I thought it was two. No, Sari. The other one stays in the medical office. I take it all. She does the six o'clock medication. That's right. And does whatever it is. So really... It's only one that floats... ..between the whole floors. Yeah, for the whole floors, then?

Yeah. The more than usual. OK, I'm on it. Jean continues to debate the issues out in the open. But first, Shelley, the senior risk manager has come down from admin and wants to get in on the act. I just like to think, is there anything else that, as a group of people together, that you would like to do? I was looking at maybe a soup day? I could order it through the kitchen, whatever? But usually homemade is better. (Laughs) And it will taste better anyway. And recognizing one another's birthdays. It's the rule, if it's your birthday, you've got to bring in the goodies to eat, so you've got to bring the cake, or the platter of fruit or something like that, that you can share with everyone with morning tea.

But, in the meantime, I'll organise a soup day. Thank you. Righty-ho. Thank you. You're welcome to stay, you know.

You don't have to go if you don't... Oh. Up to you. You'll be fine without me. (Laughs) Right, well thank you for that. OK, no worries.

We saw Shelley coming into a meeting and talking about the kinds of activities which are really meant to create social cohesion in the workplace. Sometimes those can be dangerous because they just seem so irrelevant to the problems at hand. It can even compound the sense that the... ..senior management, up in the ivory tower, up the road don't really understand what's going on here. Now Jean wants feedback on the new roster.

For Sue, the results are clear. Can I say something? OK. No stress, no, uh...you know, rushed for time. It's beautiful. OTHERS CHUCKLE It is. It is. No, it is. And, you know, I feel guilty about it. It was nice today and it was nice yesterday. So I had help... You know, the system that we used to have that we're not on the floor, we just take residents up and down and what have you. I thought if we can do that, that would ease the load

from two persons, the load will be shared all around. I think we should fit some more in. Well, bravo, Jean. Jean's really established a meaningful dialogue around changing the way they do their work. There's a lot of input from the carers. The carers did realise that the floaters were making a difference. There's been a new idea that's come from somewhere about moving people around. And that's - that's what this is all about. That's, that's how this process is meant to work. I feel very engaged with them, about what we're doing. I think that they can see that we're actually doing something to help them. And that the whole level of care, should lift again to want - it actually should be or was before this absenteeism started to happen in a serious way. However, within a week, the gains seemed lost. Despite the improved shift design, sickies go back through the roof and so does the stress. Reggie didn't come in. Debbie came in but went home sick.

Mary A's sick. Pauline was sick. Monday morning. Quite common. The floaters have been used up on the floors, leaving the ground floor still without a carer. And the medical office, without anyone giving out medication. Leonie, Mrs Daisy - she should have one more tablet. Sue said she wasn't in her room. No, she's in her room. Oh, she is. She does have, I just put actually absent. OK. Thank you. Sue is beginning to see management's point of view. There is people here that they chuck a sicky at least once every week. And that doesn't make it a team. You have to think of - of your partner, of the other girls that you leave. The pressure sometimes you can't get away from it but... and it doesn't make it easier on the others. That's a really critical moment in terms of absenteeism.

The fact that the staff themselves are really beginning to be less tolerant of it. And see it as their team-mates letting them down. I'd be now thinking about how can we shift from a culture where absenteeism is tolerated to a culture where absenteeism is not tolerated. So I think that now would be a good time for me to go back in. Hi, Jean. I'm back.

Oh, hi, Niki. How are you?

I'm well and you? I'm well, thank you. Yeah. You got time for a chat? Yeah, sure. It's been fairly stressful at times because really, you know, you want to help the staff. You want them to have a good day at work. And, and you just can't produce things out of ether, it takes time. Hi, Leonie. Hello. How are you? Good to see you again. You too.

I was just wondering how things have gone from your point of view? It hasn't been an easy journey and the staff are very unsure that it's going to continue. They're very, "Yes, it's OK today but..." Do you not feel that management have made an effort here? And it's up to the carers to tackle...this a bit more? They certainly have made an effort to try and solve the problem. So if people turn up, it's better. It's good. Yeah, it's good. It's hard to say but I think... ..they need to be pulled in line. Niki will now meet with senior management to check on overall progress. The productive hours and unproductive hours give us an indication of the impact that sick leave and annual leave is having. Yeah. Yeah. Then we know the number of hours that we can provide direct care for our residents whether it's going up or down. Yeah. And whether in fact staff are really stressed about making sure they meet those deadlines. Because if they haven't got the appropriate numbers down that way which is the major issue. OK. Well, the meeting with the senior management team demonstrated what they've been able to do at a higher strategic level. They've realised that they did need to watch more closely the workload and make sure that they were matching the resources to the workload. Shelley took on the issue of including quality of work-life into the risk management plan. Just what we have done now. Um, just acknowledging some of their special events like their birthdays and other special events throughout the year and... ..we will do some soup days and barbeque days coming up when the weather's better. The risk manager, Shelley, still seemed to see it as a question of, um, improving opportunities for social engagement at work and really, that's not the big ticket here. It's all about the way work is organised and the way people are managed. And also, part of the other issue there, is to do some better face-to-face dialogue. It's easy to isolate yourself, being up here in an administrative centre. Got to make sure that we're down there all the time, giving them updates on - on what's happening, but do it face to face. It's interesting because you can say, are they walking the talk? We did see a couple of times, John and Shelley popping into meetings for five minutes and - and going. Whereas, I think um, just giving people a bit more time might be important. Staff rosters to be reviewed and they were reviewed. in place. Yes, that's right. So this is putting the floaters management has done quite a bit now, There is a recognition there that to step up as well. and that um, carers need responsibilities. You know, that they've got They are starting to realise too using the sick leave that those who are inappropriately and other absences on their colleagues. just what impact it's having

and discussing it. They're sitting in a room a powerful tool in itself. And that's quite they're going to have To make this a real winner, a bit more aggressively. to manage the sickies looking for a firmer hand The carers are saying they're that they will have to um, from management on this and I think towards excessive sick leave. reduce the tolerance they show Thank you. Alright?

management staff process The process is meant to be a joint

which empowers the staff. that is happening here. And I really think of developing um, And I feel that the whole philosophy there are benefits for the staff a process where productivity, has worked well. and there are benefits for Thanks for... No problem. Alright, dear. at one stage or the other. We all need a carer that I'll be coming here as I said, I hope it's much, much later wouldn't make any difference to me. I hope I'll be demented, so it a beautiful day. (Laughs) Yeah. It would be everyday on the shop floor. The lesson is, listen to people about the problems Not only can they tell you come up with the solutions too. but more often than not they can This is how it's meant to work. with the carers, So there was constructive dialogue and the organisation backed them. they came up with some suggestions The carers are clearly happier. responses have gone down. And I'd expect that their stress Closed Captions by CSI *

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CC Good evening. Virginia ambassador to Australia says he with an ABC News update. China's

attendants to intervene if instructed the Olympic torch threaten the flame. That directly attendants to intervene if protestor assertion, and that of the Prime contradicts the

contradicts the organisers' Minister, that the Chinese minders will play no security

relay comes here to Canberra will play no security role when the relationship with East Timor has Thursday. Australia's testy

erupted into a new diplomatic row. President Jose Ramos accused the Australian Government of President Jose Ramos Horta has withholding information about a mysterious $800,000 Australian account in the name of his attacker, mysterious $800,000 Australian bank forced to restate that his sweeping Alfredo Reinado. Kevin Rudd has been tax reform won't include a rate. However, tax experts say any tax reform won't include a higher GS real reform has to include increase in the GST to fund cuts in real reform has to include an other taxes. The notion of a eye was one of the other taxes. The notion of a bionic Kevin Rudd's imagination at the 2020 eye was one of the ideas that fired Summit. big step ahead. They've been working Summit. But Sydney scientists are on on a bionic eye for

it will soon be as successful on a bionic eye for a decade and hope Australia's bionic ear. And it will soon be as successful as Canberra's weather - partly cloudy tomorrow. A top of 19 and a low of 7.

Sydney - 20. Melbourne - 21. tomorrow. A top of 19 and a low of 7

- 26. More news in an Sydney - 20. Melbourne - 21. Adelaid