“I plan to exercise at least 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes.”
“I will make time weekly to have a family meal and activity to follow.”
“I will make great efforts to never be a distracted driver. Some methods I plan to implement to achieve this goal are to leave my cell phone in my purse in the back seat so it is out of reach and to turn on my GPS before I leave the driveway.”
These pledges are just a few of dozens recently posted to the Commitment Wall of the Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation website. An initiative of the ANA Enterprise, the Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation (HNHN) Grand Challenge is a social movement to improve the health of the country by improving the health of its nurses.
Through outreaches including its website, the HNHN Grand Challenge brings together individual nurses, their employers, and their state and specialty associations in an effort to enhance personal nurse wellness in 5 areas: physical activity, rest, nutrition, quality of life, and safety.
“We want nurses to be role models of good health,” said Marla J. Weston, PhD, RN, FAAN, ANA Enterprise CEO.
If you’re like most nurses, however, chances are there’s room for improvement in your lifestyle choices. At times, it might even seem like the wellness odds are stacked against you.
“Nurses are committed to caring for their patients, and they often put their own health aside,” said Dr. Weston. “As a result, nurses are less healthy than the average American due to the demands of shift work, higher levels of stress, and lack of access to healthy food.”
According to HNHN, nurses are more likely to carry extra weight, deal with more stress, and not get the recommended hours of sleep. Shift work, common in the 24-7 profession, can further menace personal health — as can on-the-job injuries and workplace violence.
In fact, nursing ranks 4th highest in lost workdays that stem from injuries and illness compared with other occupations, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.
But, now, it’s time to care for the caregivers.
When the Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation initiative launched back in May, some 70 state nurses associations, hospitals, nursing schools, and other health care organizations had already signed on.
And it’s not merely lip service.
At Aurora Health Care, in Milwaukee, the HNHN Grand Challenge inspired a Tender Loving Care Cart for nurses. By offering massages, aromatherapy, and nutritional support, the hospital intends the cart to decrease stress, compassion fatigue, and depression among nurses. The Missouri Nurses Association organized a Show Me Healthy Nurses 5K run in conjunction with the HNHN Grand Challenge.
Meanwhile, individual nurses — empowered by the movement — are following HNHN online and owning their role in their personal health and wellness. The HNHN Grand Challenge website offers relevant health tips, motivational connections, and personal health challenges. A recent challenge inspired nurses to increase their daily water intake, and at the same time enjoy an energy boost, decreased hunger, and better skin. Simple breakfast ideas, how to combat burnout, and even career advice are among other topics recently addressed on the blog.
Want in on the movement to embrace nurse — and national — health?
Individuals as well as organizational partners can get information and sign up at www.healthynursehealthynation.org.
Great post. Care for the caregiver. I'm surprised that the issue of blue light from staring at the EMR all evening or night shift hasn't been addressed in nursing. Apple already has a "night mode" and amazon is littered with overlay products that mitigate blue light which interferes with circadian rhythm, weight gain, poor sleep quality, etc. Who is exposed to this more than nurses?