Nurses spend a lot of time caring for other people, but sometimes they also need to focus on their own health. Nurse leaders can help address potential imbalance by seeking to incorporate physical activity and general wellness into healthcare workspaces to promote fitness. This article explores some of the best ways to do that.
While nurses often spend much of their shifts moving, additional exercise is important to their overall health. One of the ways that nurse leaders can promote fitness in healthcare settings is by integrating physical activity into the workplace. While there are a few options to accomplish this, some of the most effective are often the simplest.
Stability discs or pedal exercisers can be used by nurses while they complete paperwork and charts. Adding exercise equipment to common areas like supply closets or stairwells, wherever there is enough room so as not to be too obtrusive, can improve nurses’ exercise time significantly. Healthcare organizations might also consider giving them a bit more time on breaks, if possible, so that they can work on their health.
When promoting fitness in healthcare, wellness programs are a valuable resource. The ideal nurse wellness program consists of three equally important components:
Nursing comes with rewarding challenges and while the majority of nurses have a strong mindset, it is not a sign of weakness to need help with mental health. Individuals in all professions, whether they are in the healthcare industry or not, can sometimes require a little help with their mental health. Nurse leaders can promote mental health in the workplace by offering their teams easy access to counseling services. They can proactively design a wellness program that makes accessing professionals easy. Fitness isn’t about physical needs alone, but rather a combination of good mental and physical health alike.
Wellness activities are another important component of wellness programs. There are many different kinds of wellness activities to choose from, with some of the most beneficial for nurses being yoga and meditation to focus the mind and relax the body. Nurse leaders can secure professionals for help in each of these areas. For example, they can organize a weekly yoga class for each ward. Nurses, and individuals in general, who understand how to manage their emotions and relax as much as possible are typically healthier than those who don’t.
Nurse leaders can also consider making outreach a bit more proactive than simply setting exercise equipment in common spaces. They can reach out to nurses individually and ensure they are aware of all of the health and wellness programs available, including access to fitness clubs or gyms. They should encourage them to make full use of the services and make sure they know that no one is counting how much time they spend or how many resources they use. They shouldn’t have to worry about taking advantage of them ‘too much.’
Team building is crucial for nurses. Supportive relationships can be the difference between success and disaster for patient care, so fostering good team dynamics is essential. Incorporating physical fitness can help strengthen relationships among coworkers.
One of the best examples of this kind of team building is group walking or jogging sessions. Encourage nurses to band together and get to know one another while walking as a group in their free time. This kind of physical activity is great for their overall health, of course, but also affords them plenty of time to talk with one another, building strong community ties.
One of the biggest challenges some nurses face in the quest for excellent physical health is access to fitness resources. In addition to adding physical activity into the workday, nurse leaders can promote their nurses’ well-being by offering access to fitness resources like fitness clubs and gym memberships. This can help boost their overall health even if the nurses don’t spend hours a day working out – just a session or two a week can be beneficial.
Nurse leaders shouldn’t underestimate just how helpful easy access to trainers and exercise equipment can be. Sometimes just the knowledge that they can swing by a gym after work without worrying about spending a lot of money can motivate nurses to focus on their health.
While all of the above are good steps to take when encouraging nurses to focus on their physical fitness, nurse leaders shouldn’t ignore the value that flexible scheduling holds. Not all healthcare needs are addressed by adding physical activity to the day. The fact that nurses traditionally have access to more flexible work schedules gives them a huge advantage over much of the rest of the working population, but there is always room for improvement.
Nurse leaders can create a workplace culture that encourages nurses to take some time for themselves and focus on their health. They should be understanding about healthcare needs when it comes to scheduling and consider promoting flexibility as much as possible. As long as patient care doesn’t suffer, nurses can be given more time off work, especially if they are using the time to meet with other healthcare professionals.
When individuals become a nursing leader through a program at Baylor University, for example, they take on the responsibility of looking out for their team’s best interests in various ways. This includes working to foster healthy relationships between nurses and physical activity. Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degrees from reputable establishments such as Baylor University can help fill gaps in nurses’ knowledge about promoting physical fitness among their team and better prepare them for the role.
The program covers topics such as creating excellence in professional practice environments, which prepares nurse leaders to develop the optimal work environment for nurses using health initiatives. In addition to this, students can use their executive skills and knowledge gained upon completing the program, to influence organizational change by implementing these wellness programs, which will boost the physical and mental health of team members.
From quick workouts in the office to more comprehensive wellness resources outside of it, nurse leaders can help promote their team’s fitness in healthcare settings through numerous methods. Becoming a nurse leader is incredibly rewarding, as it enables nurses to take on a managerial position, lead teams to success, and advocate for the health of nurses working throughout the healthcare industry.