Technology is the beat to keep moving Fwards.

ATHOL Hann might not admit it, but he has a whole lot of heart.

And while his ambition to be a nurse was more about problem solving than a nurturing instinct, he has somehow shown that technology can be that warm connection that elevates a workers’ wellbeing. 

Ironically, it was saving the life of a football umpire in his hometown of Goulburn Valley, who had a heart attack, that jolted Athol, back into nursing after losing ‘heart’ for the profession.

The pressure of nursing left him disconnected and burnout. 

But it was during his time away from the profession, while working on his family’s dairy farm in country Victoria, he began to ask- why?

“Sometimes the situation calls for you to think outside the box and consider all options - that is one of my strongest points (as a nurse) and I have taken that into entrepreneurship and business.”

Based in Mackay’s innovation hub Split Spaces, Athol chose Mackay as the place for his start-up, after years of working around the country because of the region’s coastal charm and evolving entrepreneurial community.

Athol, a nurse of 11 years recently swapped his scrubs, to be the founder of Athol Tech full-time, where he has developed the Fwards app to curb nurse burnout. 

“As a clinical nurse, I have seen young nurses move on and change to a different career and it is really devasting for the industry. It is like anything it takes a long time to get to a skill level where you can really start to hit your straps.

“That is where I am driven to energise and keep junior and middle level nurses hungry and keep them moving and technology is doing that.”

Part of the Fwards app was to create a solution for the dynamic and stress of shift work and how to manage it, a skill Athol believes is never really taught or discussed. 

“You have to work the different hours, unfortunately some weeks can be worse than others. Nurses are never really guided on how to effectively perform as a shift worker and that is where the app is really driven from.”

How the Fwards app works is when a nurse, doctor or a member of the team enters their roster it then connects them with their teams, create shift chats, along with wellbeing content, specific notices, general health, a section to reflect and debrief after a shift, along with a mindfulness feature on how to decompress what you may have seen for the day and the emotions that flow from that.

Along with the wellbeing features there is also a pay estimate feature which gives budgeting tools and your gross earnings for that pay, which as a shift worker is important as your pay can change fortnightly.

“A lot of the app’s features are built on the factors and problems that I found were becoming a stress and ultimately leading to burnout”.

Next month Transformation Region will continue the conversation about how technology will transform the healthcare industry.

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