University Of Texas At Austin School Of Nursing (UTSON)
This week, we are proud to shine the spotlight on the University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing (UTSON). UTSON is committed to providing faculty and students with an abundance of wellness opportunities, including yoga, walking groups, and of course, HNHN!In 2015, staff from the Center for Transdisciplinary Collaborative Research in Self-Management Science (TCRSS) at UTSON conducted a wellness survey to gather feedback about which healthy living initiatives would meet the needs and interests of the UTSON employees and students. Our goal was to raise awareness about the ways nursing students, faculty and staff perceive their current health, and to identify health-promoting activities and resources the SON community would like to access. It also provided a foundation, upon which to create an ongoing strategic plan for promoting health and wellness within our School.
As part of this initiative, in May 2016, UTSON applied for a HealthPoint mini-grant from the University and received $1,500 to fund new activities to address concerns raised in the survey. More specifically, this mini grant focused on providing outlets to improve mental health and physical activity, in addition to raising awareness about ways to incorporate wellness throughout the work day. The grant paid for yoga mats to be used during group yoga classes that are hosted at the SON, and yoga and meditation DVDs that employees can check out for personal use. We received additional funding to paint the main stairwell in bright colors to promote lifestyle physical activity through use of the stairs, instead of the elevator, while in the building. “It’s been fun working with the School of Nursing," said Claire Hahn, Work-Life Balance and Wellness manager at UT Austin. “It’s gratifying working with individuals dedicated to the health of their colleagues and the establishment of a culture of wellness in the workplace.”
In September 2016, UTSON formed a Wellness Committee to further this initiative and expand its reach. The Committee comprises faculty, staff and students who share ideas on how to increase awareness and elevate the importance of self-care. While this message is especially valuable for nursing students, who are learning to become leaders and ambassadors of health and wellness in the community, it is equally as important for faculty and staff who can serve as role models of healthy work-life balance. In the winter of 2018 UTSON joined Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation (HNHN) as a Champion partner. Dean Stuifbergen, the Dean of our SON, sent out an initial message to encourage participation and reminders were sent from our Wellness Committee. To date we have close to 50 participants, and our goal over the coming year is to increase enrollment and engagement with this excellent resource.
To help promote the HNHN program and our SON wellness activities, the committee developed clear messaging about the importance of students engaging in self-care with a link to the HNHN program and have asked SON faculty to include it in their course syllabus for the 2018 fall semester. At summer orientations for incoming nursing students, committee members will talk with students about the value of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and will share supportive resources across campus and beyond, including the HNHN program. High levels of stress are inherent within the nursing profession, whether nurses are students, in clinical practice, teaching, conducting research, and/or mentoring students. Therefore, it is critical that we build in ways to support, model and promote stress management and self-care, as we aim to become a healthier workforce and train the next generation of nurse leaders.
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