New #BSETake15 campaign launched

Published 31/12/2022

This January, the British Society of Echocardiography is launching a new campaign. We’re not asking you to run, cycle, fundraise or take on any other stress; we just want you to commit to giving yourself 15 minutes every day.

We are all guilty of it. We work through our lunch hours, we stay late, we dash home and once everyone is fed, we sneak in a last-minute report/presentation. But are we really doing ourselves, our patients or our teams any favours? What would 15 minutes of time out really mean?

It could actually mean a great deal! Giving yourself a true break every day could mean the difference between becoming burnt out and keeping yourself well. It could help you gain some perspective on intractable problems. It might give you the space to reflect on a situation and maybe consider another point of view. Maybe it just means eating your lunch without getting indigestion!

Whatever it means, we guarantee that it will be beneficial. In reality, you should be taking longer for your lunch break etc but we are encouraging baby steps initially! We would love to get you outside in the fresh air, having a walk, clearing your head and seeing daylight for 30 minutes but we are starting out with a realistic goal. If we can persuade you to step away from your job for 15 minutes to chat, read, do a crossword, or grab a breath of fresh air, we believe that you will be better and more able to cope with everything life is throwing at you just now.

Still need persuading?

Self-care and giving yourself space is a big part of the Resilience in Leadership course that we have been running since 2021. It is simply based on the premise that we can’t look after others if we don’t look after ourselves. It is a difficult mind shift to achieve when departments are under pressure to just keep scanning but the workforce survey gave us frightening feedback on the impact of constantly doing more with less. Whilst we didn’t ask a question relating to injury or wellbeing in the survey we left a free text option to add any other relevant information at the end. Of 289 comments left, 69 related to injury and feelings of burnout.

The most common issue was occupational injury with 41 respondents reporting either musculoskeletal issues or repetitive strain injury because of their work, often from the pressure of constant scanning without a break. The impact and risk of this is clear; it doesn’t increase productivity and facilitate more scans; it does the exact opposite and reduces productivity by forcing people to reduce their hours or leave the specialism early.

In the next 6 months we will look at supporting our members with resources to combat the risk of MSK injury at work however in the meantime, we are encouraging you to look after yourself physically and mentally by just taking a daily break of 15 minutes.

Participants in the Resilience in Leadership programme fed back that they had introduced the following into their own and wider teams’ days to great effect: 

I started taking a 10 minute walk around the outside of the hospital and now 5/6 members of my team join me on that walk
A small group of colleagues are now going to the gym together after work so ensuring that we finish on time at least twice a week
I've continued with the buddy sessions and meet regularly with one other member of the programme
I come into work early and make time for a coffee and chat with others in the staff room rather than going straight to my desk

These are small things, and you might think that 15 minutes isn’t worthwhile but isn’t it worth a try? Why not join us and commit to #BSETake15 every day throughout January and see if it does make a difference?

Things you can do in 15 minutes:

  • Crossword or sudoku puzzle
  • Read a chapter of a book
  • A brisk walk/breath of fresh air
  • Eat lunch away from your desk/phone/computer
  • Booking tickets/activities for a day off
  • Catching up with colleagues on non-work issues
  • Phoning a friend for a catch up

15 minutes won’t cure your MSK injuries or feelings of stress but committing to a small break everyday will help, if only to make you realise how important breaks are!

Not convinced?

We’ll leave you with this inspiring thought from Ms Samantha Hill, HCPC Registered Clinical Scientist and Echo Service Lead, North Bristol NHS Trust:

“They say a change is as good as a rest, right? So, even if you can’t change your day, change your mindset… Wrap up warm, get outside, change the air you breathe, change the scent you inhale, change the sounds you hear and what you see… And feel the difference, really stop and notice how your senses make you feel. Look up…. And smile.”