As an amazing Moxie nurse you often give everything to your patients. You give the highest quality of care, continuous empathy and compassion during your shift, plus energy for education and inclusion. All of this generosity doesn’t leave much room for self care and your own health. In 2017, the American Nurses Association (ANA) launched an initiative, Healthy Nurse Healthy Nation, to improve the health of nurses across the nation. There are more than 4 million registered nurses in the United States and based on the ANA Health Risk Appraisal, nurses are more likely to be overweight, have higher levels of stress, suffer from injuries, and sleep less than the recommended amount of hours.
The ANA created the Healthy Nurse Healthy Nation Grand Challenge to help nurses take ownership of their spiritual, emotional, and physical health by providing resources for improving these health indicators. Moxie nurses are industry movers and doers that have the ability to improve the health of our nation as leaders through determination, compassion, and strength.To shine in your own Moxie way, here are some tips to help guide you in reaching goals in each of the five domains as outlined in the Healthy Nurse Healthy Nation Grand Challenge:
Physical Activity. You don’t have to work out in a gym to get the recommended amount of physical activity, so do whatever you can stick to and enjoy..Challenge yourself with a new activity. Join a running group. Participate in online group classes. Try a new piece of workout equipment at home. Play at the playground with your kids.Make any physical activity fun. While at work, take the stairs to the top of the stairwell, knock out some wall push ups at the top, then come back to your unit after 10-15 minutes. Stairs are an excellent way to increase your heart rate and use large muscle groups.
Rest. The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep per night, however, sleep is not the only way to achieve rest. Meditation is a powerful tool that focuses on relaxation and calm feeling. Meditation has been proven to be beneficial in improving psychological health and overall quality of life. Find a practice that works for you and embrace quiet time with your thoughts for at least 20 minutes each day. Meditation has been shown to increase creativity, stress resilience, and enhanced emotional wellbeing. Also, encourage your colleagues to take a break to allow them to recharge in their favorite way.
Nutrition. Healthy options may not be available to you for a variety of reasons, so it’s important to plan your meals in advance. Meal preparation is the best way to know exactly what you are consuming, especially as many pre-prepared foods have high amounts of sugar, seed oils, chemicals, and preservatives. Just take a look at some of the nutrition labels in the patient pantry. The standard American diet has caused an increase in obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancer. Keep updated on the newest nutritional information available.
Quality of Life. Do you feel healthy, comfortable, and able to enjoy life? If not, try and uncover what is making you feel like you have a low quality of life. Is it your personal relationship with your partner or children? Is it a lack of sleep or poor nutrition? Are you not making time for leisure activities? Or, are you missing a sense of purpose in your professional role? How could you make small changes to improve this area of your life? A daily gratitude practice of listing three things you’re grateful for can make surprising positive changes in your perception of the world and everyday life.
Safety. The number one safety issue found in the ANA health risk assessment is workplace stress. Embracing stress reduction techniques like mindfulness, meditation, exercise, and healthy eating can help boost your energy so that you can care for patients safely. If you have recurrent stress in the workplace, delve into what is causing the stress. Once you have found the common causes of workplace stress, bring these issues to leadership and encourage solutions to address the issues to minimize nurse burnout.
It’s easy to see why the ANA chose the five intertwined domains for Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation. Start today by focusing on one domain and slowly incorporate others into your life. Be aware of your physical, mental, and emotional health to see the improvements of these practices. Be the Moxie nurse that you are and support the ANA’s Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation by engaging in their social media, signing the commitment wall, or join a challenge! Join the movement at https://www.healthynursehealthynation.org
Melissa Mora, BSN, RNC-OB, is a second career nurse with over 7 years of nursing experience specifically in obstetrics, gynecology, neonatal care and informatics. Melissa also has more than 10 years of small business management and leadership experience and currently owns PeakRN.com which provides professional nursing development and content writing services. She and her husband Ryan are originally from San Antonio, TX but now spend most of their time in the Eastern Sierra Nevadas.