Vanderbilt University Medical Center
We are pleased to shine the spotlight on the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, an exceptional Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ Champion.
Most nurses want to feel like their organization truly cares about their well-being. They want to feel supported. That’s what April Kapu, DNP, RN, ACNP-BC, FAANP, Janet Myers, DNP, FNP/GNP-BC, ADM-BC, CDE, NE-BC, and Mamie Williams, MPH, MSN, FNP-BC, set out to accomplish by aligning Vanderbilt University Medical Center with the ANA Healthy Nurse Healthy Nation ™ (HNHN) Grand Challenge.
“We’ve done a lot of studies and research with our own nursing community, and nurses are seeking an environmental culture change,” said April. “They want to feel as though our arms are wrapped around them.”
The team also knew they wanted the messaging to Vanderbilt nurses to be clear: Wellness opportunities are everywhere, but this is not something “extra” you are forced to do. Nurses are busy enough, and leadership did not want them to feel burdened by more requirements.
Janet, who is co-chair for the nursing wellness committee, took the lead in piloting a wellness initiative to benefit not just the nurses, but all healthcare team members, including physicians and advanced practice providers (APRNs and PAs).
Enthusiasm and Opportunity
New wellness initiatives for employees were launched at 7 walk-in clinics. There were a variety of opportunities, including:
- Active walking laps around the nurses station or outside around the building, during patient lulls or down time.
- Access to exercise bands to use at work stations to combat sedentary health risks.
- Hydration challenges to keep nurses and other staff well-hydrated during their shifts.
- Step challenges in which whoever has the most steps in a day puts their name into a drawing for a prize.
- Daily, group weigh-ins to encourage active weight loss and promote an environment of support.
- Healthy food options like fruit and vegetable trays instead of cookies and cakes.
- A monthly newsletter featuring healthy recipes and inspirational ideas for health and well-being.
Pet therapy was used in the nurse wellness tent during Vanderbilt’s transition from its former electronic medical records (EMR) system to its current system, Epic. The tent provided a place for nurses to take a break from training and gain access to healthy food, stress balls, mini massages, mini yoga breaks, and time with a therapy dog.
“The pet therapy was a huge hit,” said April. “It was amazing to see a nurse’s emotional state change instantly as they knelt down to pet the dog, soothing them right there in the moment.”
The HNHN survey proved the pilot to be a huge success — among the nurses surveyed, 63% had engaged in at least one of the challenges, and more than 50% had read information on the website. Overall, the nurses felt very supported by the health promotion activities. A large majority also felt they’d obtained insight and could make significant health improvements.
Why such profound success?
“We found that HNHN aligns with our nurses’ strategic goals,” said Mamie. “For organizations that feel they have a wellness program in place already, this collaboration strengthens it that much more, and adds value to what they have already.”
Learn more about the work of our Champion partners here and become an HNHN Champion. Join us today!
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