“Live your Best” is the short, but meaningful tagline often associated with a fitness club called ACAC. The motto is emblazoned on staff members’ tee-shirts, and even printed on a sign that directs members to the exit as they drive through the parking lot.
Tying this slogan to the nursing industry is simple. Clearly, one of the goals of any dedicated nurse is to help patients live the best quality of life possible. However, there is a growing concern throughout the nursing world that nurses are not practicing the same lifestyle practices that they suggest for their patients. Because of that trend, some industry leaders are advocating for programs that remind nurses how to take care of themselves as thoroughly as they take care of others. Suzy Harrington is the director of American Nurses Association’s Center for Health, Safety and Wellness, and during a recent interview on Nurse.com, a website devoted to industry developments, she clarified that, she too, has noticed many nurses who put the care of others ahead of their own well-being.
Steps in the Right Direction
Grand Canyon University is a partner in a program simply known as Well Nurse. It aims to provide nurses with recipes, exercise program suggestions, and other educational resources they can use to help themselves make positive changes. Behavior alterations don’t happen overnight, and people often experience frustration if they try to change too many things, too soon. People also have to be in the right mindset in order for a change to occur permanently. Perhaps that’s why people who make a New Year’s resolution on the fly, just because their friends are doing so, don’t always stick with their original intentions.
Nurses who participate in programs geared to encourage healthier lifestyle habits will probably get coached to mentally work through any possible barriers that might crop up, as well. If you’ve ever undertaken a large task, you probably already realize that having an action plan for dealing with challenges is just as important as being determined to follow through.
All in This Together
People who already live healthy lifestyles can be a great role model for those who are working hard to change their own ways. Individuals who are in a mentorship role can make a positive impact by merely suggesting that no one is perfect, and everyone has areas that could use some improvement. That principle is part of the reason why some behavior modification programs are done in a group setting. Some initiatives are very large, and even span across health systems in multiple states, while others might be limited to one ward in a hospital. Generally, the overall size is not as important as the attitude of the group. A spirit of teamwork brings encouragement to people who might be experiencing a momentary struggle.
For many people, lifestyle changes force them to progress down an uneven path. Large differences in behavior, such as going on a diet in an effort to lose weight, or putting aside a pack of cigarettes, are things that require commitment. People must have an “all or nothing” viewpoint, and this is often a scary feeling. However, the support of others is instrumental to a single person’s success. Because of this, behavior modification programs that focus on nursing can promote a spirit of teamwork that not only helps individual nurses live in a healthier way, but makes patient care more efficient, too.
Sarah Ross writes articles for education sites. Several schools offer nursing degrees online to help further your education.