Authors

  1. Section Editor(s): Raso, Rosanne MS, RN, NEA-BC

Article Content

When I think of "health restoration," it brings me back to nursing school courses, theories, and care plans. What about you? I mean, really, YOU and the restoration of your health. It's May, the month we honor nurses everywhere during National Nurses Week. What better way to celebrate than promote healthy nurses?

  
Figure. No caption a... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. No caption available.

Earlier in 2017, the American Nurses Association (ANA) declared its campaign for Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation, defining a healthy nurse as one who "actively focuses on creating and maintaining a balance and synergy of physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, personal, and professional well-being." This sounds like a New Year's resolution-something we hope for at the dawn of every year but abandon soon after. Why? Isn't our own health as important as our mission to restore our patients' health?

 

Of course it is. But it seems that we aren't starting from a strong place. According to the executive summary of the ANA's Health Risk Appraisal, a majority of us are overweight; drive distractedly; work through breaks; stay late; and are exposed to incivility, stress, and physical assault in the workplace. The good news is that many workplaces offer safety and wellness programs. Too often, we turn unhealthy behaviors into badges of courage. Only you know your own health risk assessment: Is there room for improvement?

 

Let's commit to health and wellness for our staff and ourselves. As leaders, we should be role-modeling and supporting behaviors that benefit this goal. If our clinical staff members want to set up a wellness room with nutritious snacks, a power nap station, aromatherapy, spa music, and a foot massager, then we should be figuring how to help them make it happen rather than thinking of all the reasons it can't happen, even if it's only some of the wish for some of the time.

 

We know feeling good isn't only physical health, and self-care isn't only about exercise. Creative Health Care Management recently sent me a #randomactsofcaring card, encouraging self-compassion and paying it forward to others. This is clever and brilliant-akin to putting on your oxygen mask first before helping those around you. Random acts of caring do improve our well-being, along with the recipient's, and they're restorative, helping counteract the effects of emotional exhaustion.

 

Then there's our leadership in creating healthy practice environments as part of professional well-being. We often talk about communication, authenticity, transformational leadership, and development, but what about a commitment to safe patient handling, no employee harm, and zero tolerance for abuse of employees? This would be a true gift for Nurses Week.

 

The ANA concluded that "a healthy nurse lives life to the fullest capacity, across the wellness/illness continuum, as they become stronger role models, advocates, and educators, personally, for their families, their communities, and work environments, and ultimately for their patients." These are strong words that capture the essence of why restoring our own health as leaders and influencers is essential.

 

Join me in believing in and supporting a commitment to health and well-being. Individually and collectively, it will make a better world. Wishing you a joyful-and healthy-Nurses Week!

 

NURSING.MANAGEMENT@WOLTERSKLUWER.COM

  
Figure. No caption a... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. No caption available.