Existing evidence highlights the importance of healthcare professionals’ happiness in the strengthening of the healthcare workforce and healthcare systems. (Muthri et al., 2020). In 2018, scholars reported that happiness is a significant factor of health system efficiency (See and Yen, 2018)

The World Health Organization (WHO) Health System Framework consists of six building blocks, one of which is the health workforce (World Health Organization, 2007). In 2012, researchers stated that the health workforce is at the core of every health system (Anand and Bärnighausen, 2012).

​​Despite the importance of healthcare professionals wellbeing to providing high-quality healthcare, evidence shows healthcare professionals experiences of higher levels of distress, burnout syndrome, depressive symptoms, and suicidal ideations more than among other professionals in other sectors (Brand et al., 2017; Kokonya et al., 2014; Dyrbye et al., 2017; Lafreniere et al., 2016).

looking over a lake

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had a significant psychological impact on healthcare workers. In a recent survey of healthcare professionals in the UK, nearly a third of health care workers reported moderate to severe levels of anxiety and depression, and the number reporting very high symptoms was more than quadruple that pre-COVID-19. (Gileen et al., 2021)

The rapid transmission rates and clinical severity of the coronavirus disease on patient health have brought global national health systems and their healthcare workers under considerable pressure.

Health care professionals already experience high levels of job-related stress and are at risk of poor psychological well-being. This is exacerbated during a pandemic increasing risk of ‘burnout’ (Burke et al., 2001), poorer quality of care of others (Leveck and Jones, 1996) and risk of developing other mental health problems. (Quine, 1998)

In short, the nature of health professionals’ work is physically and emotionally demanding, with many experiencing secondary trauma as a consequence of their stressful work. (Cleary et al., 2018) Supporting their wellbeing and resilience is key to the healthcare system.
touching nature

Mounting evidence for the mental, physical, and behavioral health benefits of exposure to nature has considerable implications for health care professionals. Engagement with nature is an important part of many people’s lives, and the health and wellbeing benefits of nature–based activities are becoming increasingly recognised across disciplines from city planning to medicine.

A wealth of literature has evidenced the important role that the greater-than-human natural environment plays in our mental health and wellbeing. Spending time in nature, engaging with nature directly and indirectly, and a strong sense of nature connectedness (a psychological/emotional connection with nature) have each been shown to positively impact wellbeing. (Richardson et al., 2021)

This can be extended to health care professionals too. For example, a study exploring workplace wellbeing strategies for nurses found activities outside work that improved their wellbeing were physical exercise, mindfulness practice, spending time in nature and listening to music. (Oates, 2018)

Interestingly a longitudinal study of new nurses exploring the relationship between spiritual health, health-promoting behaviors, depression found the resilience of nurses was positively associated with spiritual health. (Yi-Chien Chiang et al., 2021) Spending quality time in nature can strengthen spirituality through finding meaning and purpose and experiencing awe and wonder.

Nadur’s Forest Bathing Guide and Integrative Forest Therapy Practitioner training often attracts health care professionals who understand the benefits of ecotherapy for the individuals and groups that they work with. Nádur is a proud supporting partner of the IUCN WCPA “Nature is Good Medicine Call for Action “. This group calls for the integration of nature-based solutions into preventative treatment and recovery programmes. As well as, existing and emerging health practices that promote healthy active lifestyles through volunteering and community learning, social prescriptions, and preventative physical and mental health models.


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