Creating neurodiversity friendly work environments in the healthcare sector

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The level of ignorance, stigma, and open hostility that autistic patients and autistic healthcare professionals regularly have to deal with is traumatising.

In the healthcare sectors in New Zealand and Australia S23M Healthcare Solutions is working with healthcare professionals to facilitate a sector wide anti-bullying initiative that presents education in the neurodiversity paradigm, the neurodiversity movement, and autistic culture as key elements towards addressing the problem.

The HiNZ workshop in November 2018 brought together a committed group of healthcare professionals from across the country and represents a first milestone on the journey to transforming the workplace culture in the healthcare sector in New Zealand.

The resulting agreement on the need for action was encouraging, and has resulted in ongoing collaborations. Results to date:

  1. HiNZ workshop 2018
  2. HiNZ workshop 2019

We are collaborating and sharing experiences via web based tools and online meetings, and coordinate concrete steps towards creating psychologically safe places and an inclusive culture within our respective organisations.

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If you work in the healthcare sector and would like to get involved in creating neurodiversity friendly work environments, please email Jorn Bettin. We offer education courses about the neurodiversity paradigm, the neurodiversity movement, and autistic culture, specifically for healthcare professionals.

Autistic clinicians can also contact the network of Autistic Doctors International to connect with autistic peers and share lived experience in the healthcare sector.

If you find yourself in a work environment where you frequently have to mask or tend to be penalised for taking risks, making mistakes, raising problems, asking questions, or disagreeing with your colleagues, you are in an unsafe environment.

You can use the Bullying Alert System on this website to report the context of your situation in anonymised form and you can encourage employers that are genuinely committed to psychological safety for all staff and inclusiveness to enrol in the intersectional community powered Employee Wellbeing Service.

The upcoming workshop at HiNZ (Aotearoa New Zealand) in 2022 will build on the results achieved to date. We welcome your participation and contributions!

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