Frances Akubuilo, DNP, RN
A self-care video, developed as a product of Frances Akubuilo’s doctorate research, starts off with the question, “Nurses, how can we take care of our nation, if we don’t take care of ourselves?” This is a question Frances often asks in response to national data showing nurse health indicators scoring lower than the average American.
This finding, although disheartening, was not very shocking to Frances, since she often sees her nurse colleagues giving their all to the profession, even if it may take a toll on their own health. Frances realized that more could be done to help herself and her nursing staff to incorporate health and wellness into their daily lives.
In 2017, she obtained her Board Certification as an Advanced Holistic Nurse in order to dedicate her career to embracing the concept of wholeness (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and environmental factors) into everyday nursing practice.
Serving as a holistic nurse gave Frances the motivation to pursue her doctorate degree and focus on the health of nurses as a research project. She plans to continue to promote a healthy lifestyle to nurses by highlighting the importance of initiatives like Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation and utilizing her research findings to help nurses overcome barriers to participating in self-care practices like physical activity.
To improve self-care behaviors like physical activity, research recommends assessing each nurse’s individual belief in themselves and their abilities that they CAN actually participate. Additionally, it is vital to provide continuous educational and motivational wellness training programs, tailored to the nurses’ needs and time schedules. Accountability partners, invested friends and co-workers, as well as incentives, help with setting and meeting physical activity goals. Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation is a great platform since it has the ability to assess nurses’ needs, relay vital information to nurse participants, as well as implement periodic challenges that can help nurses stay engaged while providing motivation to focus on self-care.
Self-Care in the Midst of COVID-19
Today, more than ever, it is vital that nurses remain safe, get adequate rest, consume proper nutrition, stay physically active, and strive for an optimal quality of life.
With stay at home orders in effect, obligations to lead a department of nurses, and constant navigation of COVID-19 guidelines, Frances works to keep up with these health domains by:
- Incorporating a mindful practice like meditation, prayer, etc. into her daily routine
- Using family and friends as a support system
- Staying physically active in order to relieve stress
Dr. Franny’s Advice
Frances’ research findings showed that there are several methods that could be used to enhance the self-care of nurses (including physical activity). Her advice:
- Stress/pain relief: mindfulness activities like meditation and yoga can help manage stress as well as help you focus on any potential problem areas within your body that may need a little extra love and care.
- Continuous wellness training: wellness training can include yoga and other holistic practices that are designed to offer tools that can help you to consistently focus on your physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and environmental health.
- Emotional Support: it may help to work with a nurse coach, or simply talk to a friend or family member that can lend an ear regarding your challenges and assist you with accountability in reaching your goals.
Frances Akubuilo, DNP, RN is the Director of Patient Care Services at GFK Home Health Agency and a member of the American Holistic Nurses Association.
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