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Posted on 25 Jul 2019

Ahead of GIANT STEPS 2019 we sat down with one of our speakers, Dr Andy Tagg to find out what’s in store for his session and learn about influencing positive culture at work.

Andy qualified from medical school in the UK before heading to Australia. He works in Melbourne’s west as an emergency physician and is one of the co-founders of Don’t Forget The Bubbles, a paediatric educational resource, that gained global acclaim through its website and its innovative and engaging conferences.

Since speaking out about his own issues with mental health and depression Andy has been proud to be involved with Western Health’s Positive Workforce group, engaging clinicians at a local and national level.

How did the ‘Don’t Forget the Bubbles’ blog come about?

Andy:

DFTB was created back in 2013 by four of us interested in medical education, as a means of collating our revision notes and exploring the paediatric literature. What started with four registrars writing blog posts has grown to more than 50 authors and 800 posts. As a collaborative platform it has become a world leader in the paediatric space.

And now it’s evolved into a successful conference, first in Australia and now London. Why was it important to take the conference on the road?

Andy:

While we film all of our conference talks for free distribution, our delegates also found a great sense of connection by being there. By taking it on the road it has allowed for greater networking opportunities, and a growing sense of global community. It has also allowed us to tap into a  network of talented speakers that may not have been otherwise able to travel all the way to Australia.

You have written very candidly about your struggles with depression. Do you think there is a tendency for those working in medicine to suffer in silence?

Andy:

Absolutely. There is still a great deal of stigma surrounding mental illness amongst doctors and nurses. Given that one in four doctors have suffered with depression I think it is important that open conversations take place at work.

While the working environment can be a source of stress it can also be a place of great support. This can only occur if we are allowed to be open and honest. 

You’re involved in Western Health’s Positive Workforce Group. Can you tell us a bit about that?

Andy:

For a long time we have been trying to influence hospital culture by focusing on the negative - stamping out bullying and poor behaviour. At Western Health we acknowledge these challenges but also want to create a culture of kindness where we respect and care for each other as much as we care for our patients.

Wellness at work is about much more than early morning yoga classes, it is about overhauling the junior doctor rostering and improving access to leave. It is about access to fresh food at night. It is about supporting our senior staff as well as the juniors.

We hear the term ‘joy at work’ a lot. What does joy at work mean to you?

Andy:

I am proud to call the people I work with 'friends'. We laugh with each other and we cry with each other. If I am being grumpy and bad-tempered they will tell me. No matter how challenging my day is clinically, it is easy when I am with friends.

Shahina has told us you won’t be dancing… So what can we expect from your session at GIANT STEPS?

Andy:

 My job is to give Shahina every opportunity to shine.

Catch Andy presenting ‘Joy at work: Not just the kind thing to do, but the smart thing to do’ alongside Shahina Braganza at GIANT STEPS, 21–22 November 2019.

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Page last updated: 25 Jul 2019