Thursday August 22nd 2019

Healthy Nurses: Perspectives on Caring for Ourselves

The new September 30 OJIN topic, Healthy Nurses: Perspectives on Caring for Ourselves, features a variety of articles on self-care, both at home and in the workplace.

Effective interpersonal communication by nurses in both personal and professional settings may reduce stress, promote wellness and improve overall quality of life. Effective Interpersonal Communication: A Practical Guide to Improve Your Life, by Kathleen A. Vertino, DNP, PMHNP-BC, CARN-AP, explores the concept of interpersonal communication and draws upon both literature and her experiences as a longtime mental health provider to offer multiple practical strategies with examples of possible responses for effective communication.

In the article, Social Media and Nurses: Insights for Promoting Health for Individual and Professional Use, authors Jennifer Jackson, BScN Hon, RN; Robert Fraser, MN, RN; and Peter Ash, B.Mgmt, explore health and social media, and risks for nurses. They also discuss suggestions for using social media carefully, selecting emerging best practices for use, and future directions for research.

Self-care is imperative to personal health, sustenance to continue to care for others and professional growth. Practicing Self-Care for Nurses: A Nursing Program Initiative, by Cynthia A. Blum, PhD, RN, CNE, reviews stressors common to students and nurses and the importance of teaching the practice of self-care to combat stress and promote health. The author describes the evolution of a university-based, self-care initiative in the form of a stand-alone, elective course for undergraduate nursing students.

Studies have shown that more than half of all nurses are overweight or obese. The aim of the study described in the article, Implementation of a Participant-Centered Weight Management Program for Older Nurses: A Feasibility Study, by Eun-Shim Nahm, PhD, RN, FAAN, and colleagues, was to examine the feasibility of a participant-centered weight management program among nurses. A theoretical framework from the field of usability engineering guided the creation of an intervention consisting of face-to-face education sessions, technology-augmented exercise programs, and an eHealth portal.

Research by Nancy M. Albert, PhD, CCNS, CHFN, CCRN, NE-BC, FAHA, FCCM; Robert Butler, MS; and Jeanne Sorrell, PhD, RN, is presented in the article, Factors Related to Healthy Diet and Physical Activity in Hospital-Based Clinical Nurses. This study considered diet and physical activity of clinical nurses, using elements of Pender’s self-care theory as a conceptual framework. Greater understanding about lifestyle choices for clinical nurses may improve existing hospital-based programs and/or create desirable services.

There are a multitude of workplace wellness programs that address the goal of achieving and maintaining normal weight over a lifetime. In the article, Designing Exercise and Nutrition Programs to Promote Normal Weight Maintenance for Nurses, author Karen Gabel Speroni, PhD, MHSA, BSN, RN, discusses her facility’s goal to create a comprehensive wellness program, based on evidence, which exposed nurses to healthier lifestyle aspects with a primary focus on the optimal balance of exercise and nutrition. The article includes an exemplar with details about the program and implications for practice.

Nurses work variable and long hours, and are exposed to multiple stressors while caring for patients. These stressors can adversely affect a nurse’s health. Eating for good health is one way to reduce the impact of stress on the body and positively influence health, allowing nurses to better care for patients and themselves. The article, Healthy Eating for Healthy Nurses: Nutrition Basics to Promote Health, by Denise Reed MS, RD, LD, reviews stress, inflammation and nutrition, and discusses the impact of sleep on eating patterns and nutrition basics for nurses.

Read these articles at www.nursingworld.org/OJIN.

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