The Joy Project – getting people to smile!

Ms Xaviera Farrell1

1Prison Health Darwin, Darwin , Australia



Demonstrate how colour in the workplace can change the way we connect with our patients and our colleagues.

Nature and Scope:

By examining how colour can effect mood and behaviour I explore how this has transferred into the design of our clinic by adding colour to moving works of art- staff, and how this has far reaching effects.

The issue under consideration:

Our community members at Darwin correctional precinct have complex behaviours,  are culturally diverse, have individual health needs and are generally suspicious of people in uniforms – and that’s just us health care professionals!  We wanted to make our space, for all the people within it, a place of healing and happiness.  The reality is that we are in a prison and we wanted to make the clinic a place of true rehabilitation.

Staff were not micromanaged on how they wanted to add some colourful ‘frosting’ to their uniforms.

We celebrated days of inclusion and recognition such as ‘Harmony day and NAIDOC week’ and included the inmates in the decorating of the clinic.

We also commissioned local artists to add colour to our clinic.

The outcome;

We have  reduced episodes of anti- social behaviour in the clinic.  We have a reduced amount of inmates ‘leaving against medical advice’.  We have a higher rate of smiles.  We have fewer staff sick days, improved retention and overall improved staff satisfaction.

Most important – when you enter our clinic you can not help but smile!  And when we smile we relax- the healing begins with colour!


Xaviera Farrell RN, BA, BS (nursing), Grad Cert Clinical Nursing, Grad Dip Emergency Nursing.

Clinical Nurse Specialist and Patient Feed Back Coordinator.

Darwin Correction Precinct.