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Clinical Systems Leadership

3 Ways Nurses Can Set a Health and Wellness Example

Being a leader in any field requires men and women to demonstrate the standard they want others to meet. It’s no different in the nursing profession, especially when it comes to their relationships with patients. It’s critical for nurses to set a wellness example for those who enter hospitals, doctor’s offices and clinics.

Clinicians who are healthy will encourage patients to do the same

Let’s take a look at 3 ways nurses can accomplish this goal:

1. Don’t forget about mental wellness

Often times, when people talk about being – or becoming – healthy they are referring to their bodies. Yet, this isn’t the only type of health that people should focus on. Instead, it is important to give ample time and consideration to mental wellness. Health-care providers should find stress-relieving practices that can help them during particularly overwhelming situations and long hours.

One strategy is to emphasize mindfulness, which encourages nurses to live in the moment. This tactic aims to help people process their feelings properly – without over thinking – to lessen stress. Nurses can share this wellness technique with their patients by demonstrating a calm and collected demeanor during important interactions. Modeling composed behavior enables those on the receiving end to mirror the conduct.

2. Advocate for yourselves

It’s common for nurses to be on the side of their patient, always having a person’s back with his or her medical decisions. Yet, it’s more challenging for these health-care providers to advocate for themselves in trying situations. Nurses have tough schedules. Shift work means long hours, few breaks, limited time to eat or exercise and many more factors which can lead to reduced well-being.

Clinicians should take control of their habits and speak up for what’s best for themselves and their peers to optimize their wellness. This means prioritizing better work schedules, bringing in healthy meals and being active on days off. Advocating for a balanced and healthy workplace can reduce the risk of nurse burnout and poor health, while increasing energy, happiness and productivity levels.

3. Join the challenge

The American Nurses Association’s new initiative “Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation” offers a health risk appraisal (HRA) to all registered nurses and RN students. With this examination – which is HIPAA compliant – nurses can access real-time information on several factors relating to their wellness. The goal is to help nurses find and maintain a balance between the physical, intellectual, emotional, professional, personal and spiritual elements of their day-to-day lives.

The HRA is free of charge and upon completion, healthcare providers can access a web wellness portal website. This site enables nurses to check their stats against national averages and optimal figures. As a result, the ANA hopes clinicians will use their delivered outcomes as a means of becoming a stronger role model, advocate and educator to their patients, communities and families.

Health professionals play a vital role in helping patients get and remain healthy. Yet, how can nurses preach wellness without practicing it themselves? It’s important for these healthcare providers to demonstrate strong behaviors to positively affect their personal, professional, social, physical and mental well-being. Leading by example will hopefully influence patients to do the same. This action could result in not only stronger nurse-patient relationships, but healthier communities across the country. One small step – like practicing mindfulness or advocating for better work hours – could cause a ripple effect that could create long-lasting healthcare changes.

Nurses should be sure to advocate for their own health.

A Master of Science in Nursing will give clinicians the tools they need to better understand their own personal limits. With assistance from a higher degree, nurses can encourage their patients to mirror the health and wellness examples they’ve set.


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