Funding Campaign for Heart Place Hospital Starts in Bid to Heal Frontline Workers
After many unsuccessful attempts to lobby the Government and DHBs, Registered Nurse of over 26 years, Jacqui O’Connor, has launched a funding campaign to support Heart Place Hospital, a concept aimed to prevent and help front line workers recover from burnout.
O’Connor experienced burnout herself, having been the sole clinician at the first community case of COVID at Marist College in March 2020. O’Connor – who is also the Co-Author of Letters to a Future Nurse, published in December 2022, identified that our ‘carers’ (frontline workers such as nurses, emergency workers and teachers), are never taught the importance of caring for themselves. Many have had experiences in their roles which need addressing for them to continue healing others.
“I started Heart Place Hospital from my experience of not finding a safe space that could provide me with the tools and information to support me for the long-term. So, I’ve created what I was looking for.
“We are in really big trouble, and I am constantly getting phone calls about how little respect our frontliners are getting.”
O’Connor also notes that a 1998 Woodhull study showed that the voices and perspectives of the nation’s largest group of health professionals – nurses – were largely invisible in the media and news, being cited less than 4% of the time at the time. In 2018, the study was repeated, and the results were shockingly worse.
She believes health care and education professionals on the front line need our support so they can be represented, avoid burnout, and continue supporting New Zealand to thrive.
“Our carers often give so much to the point where they have nothing left for themselves. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that when you’re working full-time and living in fight or flight mode, that’s putting stress on your body."
“That stress on your body eventually becomes a disease. For me, it manifested itself as anxiety, panic attacks, and insomnia.”
Heart Place Hospital works as a conduit, connecting front line workers to healed service providers to support them to avoid or recover from burnout, to create healthy boundaries, advocate for themselves and others, and helping them craft a life where they can thrive.
O’Connor saw the real changes Heart Place Hospital has already made when she was given a scholarship to train at the Whole Health Medicine Institute with front liners from all over the world, after being the sole clinician at the front line of New Zealand’s first community case of COVID-19.
“Some of the doctors from that Institute came to stay at Heart Place Hospital from Denver, Colorado, and have since gone home and made significant changes and have shared their experience to others as a solution.”
Providing their services free of charge, Heart Place Hospital currently receives no government funding and relies on the generosity of people all over New Zealand who want to make a difference.
O’Connor says Kiwis can support the cause by getting around their current Pledgeme campaign, which aims to raise funds and awareness for 40 days and 40 nights, starting 10th March.
“Help Heart Place Hospital care for the carers, so when it’s time for them to take care of you and your family, they can do the best possible job.
“Our heroes need saving too.”
Founder of Heart Place Hospital
M: 021 073 3072