Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ - #healthynurse Spotlight Series - Aundrea Mills, RN, BSN, MHL 4211

Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ - #healthynurse Spotlight Series - Aundrea Mills, RN, BSN, MHL


Chief Nursing Officer practices what she preaches when it comes to wellness.

As a #healthynurse, Aundrea Mills knows she is an example to those around her.

To encourage healthy living with not only patients, but nurses too, Aundrea strives to model healthy behavior at work and home.  She knows others are watching.

Nurses are the most trusted profession, and patients look to them as examples. If nurses struggle with wellness habits, their patients may question the healthier habits’ validity.

Sometimes nurses aren’t living healthy lifestyles because of barriers they encounter. For example, maybe they can’t stay hydrated because workplace protocols prohibit personal water bottles outside of the breakroom. And who has time for adequate bathroom breaks, anyway?

Aundrea also understands these types of barriers because she’s faced them herself.

“Being a seasoned nurse, I’ve personally witnessed these barriers, and I’ve witnessed nurses be unsuccessful because of them,” says Aundrea. “Now more than ever, I’m mindful of those barriers and work to remove them whenever possible.”

Aundrea does this through her job as Chief Nursing Officer at Compass One / Morrison Healthcare. One of her efforts is to promote nurses access to adequate hydration and healthy, grab-and-go snacks. For example, instead of candy bars and chips, vending machines can consider such stock:
  • Protein bars/shakes
  • Hummus
  • Nuts
  • Healthy smoothies
  • Concentrated juice shots with vitamin C and electrolytes for hydration

A Well-Rounded Lifestyle
Nutrition and hydration are priorities for Aundrea not just because of her desire to help nurses, but her personal motivation to stay well. And for a well-rounded healthy lifestyle, Aundrea also prioritizes sleep and socialization.

“I worked the night shift for a long time,” says Aundrea. “Since then, I’ve educated myself about sleep and how prioritizing it (regardless of the assigned shift) impacts our overall wellbeing.”

Aundrea ensures she gets quality rest by evaluating how much sleep she’s getting on a regular basis. She prioritizes her bedtime routine and disconnects from electronics at least 30 minutes to an hour before bed. During that time, she decompresses by reading. She also makes a Sunday commitment and dedicated plan for the week ahead.  Scheduling 3 exercise days is a simple routine that works for Aundrea. When planned ahead of time, just like we do with our work events, Aundrea holds herself accountable with much needed exercise.

The power of friendship plays a huge role in Aundrea’s wellness, too. That’s not surprising, since numerous studies have linked friendships and other types of social support with reduced stress.

“I make an effort to reconnect with my friends as often as I can,” says Aundrea. “And I make it a purposeful time to reconnect without distractions because it brings joy and it’s important for my mental health.”

Aundrea says it has been a delight planning a short 4-day getaway with her best friend. The excitement of preparation and the anticipation of traveling with her friend brings Aundrea happiness. She recommends trying a short getaway with a friend. Pay attention to the happiness brought on by the planning phase alone.

Together, her efforts with hydration, nutrition, sleep, and friendship make Aundrea the #healthynurse she is today.

Aundrea’s Advice
All nurses will face barriers to a healthy lifestyle, but the key is working to overcome them. Use this advice from Aundrea:
  • Be intentional: If your workplace has hydration stations, use them. If your workplace offers healthier snack options, choose them. Be deliberate in making your choices as healthy as possible.
  • Make time for your friendships: Socialization is so important for wellness. Don’t let it take a backseat to other priorities in your life. Lean on your friends!
  • Allow yourself a setback: When we stay so rigid that we must be perfect every day, we’re going to fail. If you fall behind, give yourself grace and get back to your healthy habits. Accept that setbacks may happen, but they don’t have to stop you.

Aundrea Mills, RN, BSN, MHL, is the Chief Nursing Officer at Compass One / Morrison Healthcare.
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Blog #healthynurse Spotlight 08/09/2022 2:13pm CDT

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The #healthynurse Spotlight is a shout out to nurses who are making changes in their lives to improve their health and wellness. You can too! Read their stories for inspiration here.