NORTHFIELD, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The American Nurses Association (ANA) recently revealed nurses typically have an average body mass index of 27.6, which is considered overweight, and only 16 percent eat the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables. Nurses often give selflessly to those they care for. Now that the ANA has designated 2017 the Year of the Healthy Nurse, clinicians must remember to care for themselves with the same intensity.
“In 2012, I suffered a severe concussion. The journey to recovery taught me that being a healthy nurse is about taking small steps toward healthy routines, whether it is light exercising, changing your diet or learning self-care. Nurses are at the core of caring, so it is crucial that they take little steps to improve their own well-being,” said Martie Moore, chief nursing officer at Medline and ANA advisor.
“The ANA Enterprise has a long-standing commitment to ensuring the health and wellness of the nation, and we want nurses to be role models of good health,” said ANA Enterprise CEO Marla J. Weston, PhD, RN, FAAN. “The ANA Enterprise is leading the way to improve the health of nurses through Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™, which will connect nurses, employers of nurses, state nurses associations, and specialty nurses associations to resources specifically designed to address the unique health challenges nurses face.”
Simplify meal preparation
Many nurses find it challenging to take time to eat during their 12-hour shifts, so they may find it helpful to plan ahead so they receive proper nutrition rather than running to vending machines or the cafeteria. Registered dietician, Paulina Lowkis, shares three meal preparation tips:
- Go cold: Pack simple, nutritious foods ahead of time that don’t require heating, such as hummus, peanut butter, nuts and grapes.
- Chow down on protein: Hard-boiled eggs, cheese, beans, nut butters and Greek yoghurt will prolong feeling fuller, longer.
- Create meals on the fly: Keep easy-to-store items on hand for simple meals, such as oatmeal packets, dry cereal, frozen meals, low-sodium soup, fruit cups, string cheese, and apple sauce.
“Lack of planning or skipping meals are the biggest nutrition mistakes nurses make and the consequences can be detrimental to their metabolism. Spending some time at home preparing meals will help nurses get in the habit of making smarter nutritional choices,” added Lowkis.
Experts say that long shifts often lead to a lack of physical activity due to fatigue and stress causing obesity and other weight-related health conditions. By incorporating physical activity such as brisk walking, nurses can achieve a healthy weight and reduce the risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Additionally, consider secret exercises” like toe lifts or turning on music and dancing.
Care about skin
Hands are a nurse’s most valuable set of tools, but the constant hand washing, scrubbing and sanitizing dries them out. Medline surveyed floor nurses from hospitals across the country and 57 percent of respondents said that the condition of their hands impact how often they wash their hands or use sanitizer. Moisturizers rich in natural oils, soothing antioxidants and natural humectants will help moisturize and nourish skin. Additionally, exam gloves are often seen as utilitarian, but they play a significant role in skin irritation. Consider using gloves that are coated with colloidal oatmeal to help hydrate and soothe the skin.
Long shift hours and high nurse-to-patient ratios is putting tremendous pressure on the workforce. Nurses are continuing to show signs of disengagement. A Gallup study of 200 Hospitals found that the engagement level of nurses was the number one variable correlating to mortality. Leadership must consider such initiatives as training and development opportunities for staff, recognizing staff on the spot for their excellent work, ensuring staff that their ideas and suggestions are valued and offering outlets to help nurses cope with stress and burnout.
“Employee engagement is a fundamental part of an organization’s culture. Leaders must step back and think about what they want culture to be. People want to do a good job when they’re engaged, but in order to be engaged, they have to feel inspired,” added Moore.
While earning continued education credits is a requirement within the nursing profession, going beyond the requirement will only help nurses develop their skills and take better care of patients. Medline is determined to provide all healthcare professionals the opportunity to continue their education. With over 200 free, online courses at Medline University, nurses can learn about topics that will help enhance their well-being, including safe patient handling and hand hygiene best practices.
Join Conversation on Social
Through National Nurses Week, industry experts will share health and wellness tips for nurses on Medline’s “The Voices of Healthcare” blog.
Additionally, Medline wants to know what nurses are doing to stay healthy, whether it is trying a new moisturizer, dancing or anything else that recharges them. Simply share it on a social media platform using #NurseChallenge and tag fellow nurses to participate in the challenge.
Medline is a global manufacturer and distributor serving the healthcare industry with medical supplies and clinical solutions that help customers achieve both clinical and financial success. Headquartered in Northfield, Ill., the company offers 350,000+ medical devices and support services through more than 1,200 direct sales representatives who are dedicated points of contact for customers across the continuum of care. For more information on Medline, go to www.medline.com or http://www.medline.com/social-media to connect with Medline on its social media channels.