American Sentinel is supporting the ANA’s designation of 2017 as the “Year of the Healthy Nurse” with a new, four-part series about Nurse Wellness that will unfold over the next month. Read the other parts of this series here.
In case you’ve missed it, the ANA has launched a Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation initiative. The initiative is a reminder for nurses to take care of themselves, in order to better care for their patients, as well as contribute to overall public health. When nurses are healthy, well rested, and safe on the job, they have more life- and job-satisfaction overall—which, in turn, has an impact on patient outcomes and quality of care. During 2017, the ANA is highlighting a different wellness or safety topic each month.
This spotlight on wellness is a response to the ANA’s 2016 Health Risk Appraisal. According to the ANA, the survey revealed some troubling trends:
- Nurses are more likely to be overweight than the population at large. (The average BMI of survey participants was 27.6. A healthy weight is considered to be a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9.)
- Nurses are less likely to get enough sleep than the general population. An alarming 12 percent of study participants said they had nodded off while driving during the past month.)
- Nurses often eat on the run and only 16 percent are eating the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables.
- Busy nurses are neglecting exercise, with less than 50 percent meeting the recommended amount of muscle-building exercises.
- Occupational risks continue to be a workplace concern for RNs.
- Nurses report amounts of workplace stress that are far above the national average.
The ANA has also launched its “Healthy Nurse, Healthy NationTM Grand Challenge (HNHN GC). The challenge focuses on five fundamental indicators of wellness: sleep, nutrition, exercise, safety, and quality of life. You can join the challenge online, and we urge you to do so!
This kind of grand challenge (defined as a bold, socially beneficial movement that addresses system problems) is based on the collective impact model. The idea is that, if all—or even most—of the 3.6 million RNs in our country increase their own wellness, the effects would ripple out to their families, communities, and ultimately their patients. It’s just one more way nurses can advocate for an effective healthcare system. As frontline caregivers and the healthcare industry’s largest subset of workers, nurses play a vital role in protecting, promoting, and optimizing the nation’s health.
Nurses help to prevent illness and injury, facilitate healing, alleviate suffering, educate patients, and advocate for patient-centric policies—therefore, their own well-being is crucial to the nation’s level of wellness. So, if you weren’t ready to take the step for yourself; do it for your patients and your community!
Do you see yourself as a healthy nurse? Our wellness series was conceived to help nurses actively focus on balancing all aspects of well-being: physical, mental, emotional, social, personal, spiritual, intellectual, and professional. Please join us for the next three weeks!