Nurses worldwide are compassionate caregivers, but who takes care of the nurses? Supporting nurses is vital and by reading this article, you will understand why. Self-care is expected so the nurse can continue stressful work with high standards of competence. Then again, more and more hospitals and healthcare facilities are sponsoring wellness programs to support the hardworking staff.
Just a Few Self-Care Tips for Nurses:
- Eat something healthy, not only the complimentary chocolates and cookies that appreciative families bring in. Move around, take a walk, and go outside.
- Take your breaks, and consult the management if your workload does not allow it.
- Get a massage.
- Hug someone, releasing a hormone that boosts happiness.
- Connect with others, especially your loved ones, through face-to-face conversation or even a text message. Enjoy life, maybe music, nature, or a hobby.
However, Beware, Self-Care is Not Enough.
Nurses working twelve-hour shifts, often not even taking their breaks, need a helping hand and structured organizational backup. Many hospitals recognize this issue and are implementing wellness programs bolstering and complimenting the efforts of the nurses to deal with stress and keep their strength up.
Supporting Nurses with Wellness Programs
What is a Wellness Program?
Comprehensive health and wellness programs promote and maintain their employees' physical and mental fitness equitably, often providing classes on stress relief with techniques for mental and emotional health and opportunities for further education to grow professionally. In 2011, the Surgeon General recommended establishing employer-sponsored Healthy Worksites to make it easier for employees to participate in exercise programs and make nutritious food choices. These programs benefit employees with opportunities to be healthier and save on healthcare costs and employers with a more productive and heartier workforce.
Hospitals are stepping up to this challenge. From New York to San Francisco, 83% of hospitals in the United States implement workplace wellness programs, significantly higher than the 46% of all employers; 31% of the hospitals provide health coaches, compared to only 5% of all employers; 56% of the hospitals have stress-management programs, compared to 20% of all employers; 55% of the hospitals offer counseling to help employees stop smoking, compared to 16% of all employers.
Wellness Policies and Programs in Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities
The Cleveland Clinic health system works with other organizations in favor of more than 28,000 nursing caregivers to reduce stress, increase job satisfaction, and find work-life balance. The program offers E-coaches on healthy eating, mindfulness, relaxation techniques, and proper sleep. Furthermore, they provide access to fitness centers, offer a stop-smoking initiative, and offer significant discounts on health insurance premiums by meeting personalized fitness and nutrition goals. On top of all this, they bring in massage therapists, Reiki practitioners, and on-site yoga classes.
The Boston Medical Center has 20 different wellness programs to help employees manage their health, time, or money, covering issues such as improving financial credit and getting a better night's sleep.
Advent Health Orlando features its CREATION Health wellness program as part of the onboarding process. The program entails seminars on subjects such as rest and sleep, trust and building relationships, nutrition, and personal finance.
A few of the most popular wellness activities and services are flu shots or other immunizations, employee assistance/mental health services, smoking cessation, on-site exercise facilities, healthy food options, weight-loss, and safety programs. Safety programs may involve orientation and protection from sexual abuse, a significant risk for nurses.
Supporting Nurses By Preventing Sexual Abuse Against Nurses
One study in England showed that 43% of female nurses had suffered sexual harassment or abuse by patients, their family members, physicians, or coworkers. 61.26% developed emotional problems, and 52% had psychological disturbances.
Mental Health Coaching or Support
Coaches or wellness programs guide and accompany nurses to protect themselves and other staff members from abuse, stress, and its emotional or psychological effects. However, to get this support, nurses must have the courage to report the problem and feel that their complaints will be heard and respected. Coaches or psychologists sponsored by the hospital are more approachable on such issues than the managers themselves since it is their job to listen respectfully and provide professional aid. The visible availability of professional assistance in cases of sexual harassment or abuse also enhances preventing of this unacceptable behavior.
Another major issue those breaks!
One seemingly simple obstacle to nurses' self-care and health is that they don't take breaks. Why not?
Nurses are responsible for their patient's health and safety during the entire shift, typically during breaks. The patients' needs, as well as a perceived expectation from peers and patients that the nurse should be available at all times, often keep the nurses from effectively taking their well-deserved and necessary breaks or getting a meal.
Management supporting staffing makes a difference. One hospital successfully contracted part-time nurses to work a 3-4 hour shift to relieve nurses over lunch. The Nursa PRN staffing app can provide coverage that makes the breaks real.
Look into wellness programs in healthcare centers to find employee-sponsored backing for the nurses' well-being and self-care. The hospitals have learned a lot about supporting nurses.