Northwell Health makes HNHN a driving force to promote wellness across the health system.
We are pleased to shine the spotlight on Northwell Health and its flagship hospital North Shore University Hospital, an exceptional Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ Champion.
Does integrating the ANA Healthy Nurse Healthy Nation ™ (HNHN) Grand Challenge into an organization make a difference? A tremendous difference, says Deputy Chief Nurse Executive for Northwell Health and Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) of North Shore University Hospital, Kerri Anne Scanlon, MSN, RN, FAAN.
Partnering with System Chief Nurse Executive Maureen White, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, Kerri recognized the similarities between the wellness efforts already underway across Northwell Health and the HNHN priorities.
To marry these efforts, Kerri needed to generate buy-in from over 6,000 employees at North Shore. That meant presenting to the CNO Advisory Council, the PCS Leadership Council, and the Central Collaborative Care Council. From there, her focus moved toward disseminating information and bolstering participation.
The organization launched a hospital-wide marketing campaign that included social media to promote awareness. It also leveraged a wellness app provided for all Northwell Health employees to promote activities, nutrition, and mental and emotional wellness.
“We wanted to embed the HNHN approach into Northwell Health and make it a driving force to promote wellness,” said Kerri.
Something for Everyone: Different Options for Wellness
Next came the creation of the wellness initiatives. With an emphasis on physical activity, nutrition, and mental/emotional well-being, leadership set out to provide opportunities for all three areas.
First, they created team-based walking competitions across the health system. Last year’s walk: Walk to Dublin, challenged teams of 10 to walk the distance from New York City to Dublin. Right away, the organization saw positive participation and feedback. The Walk to Dublin challenge totaled more than 7.4 billion steps by the end of the eight weeks. About 1,200 teams completed the challenge.
Northwell is currently in the middle of its third walking competition: Walk to Rome. So far, 23,000 employees (or one-third of the total number of employees) have participated in a walk.
North Shore University Hospital also created its own local walking competition, the Walk to Manhattan, just for teams within the hospital to continue the positive momentum.
“It’s gotten people up, active, and socializing more by walking as teams,” said Kerri. “The winning team for the Walk to Manhattan won tickets to see the New York Knicks in the box in Madison Square Garden and dinner in Manhattan. People loved it.”
North Shore University Hospital also opened an employee fitness center and a mile-long indoor walking trail for times of inclement weather.
The next major initiative was nutrition improvements. Northwell Health hired Michelin Star Chef Bruno Tison to revolutionize the role food plays in healthcare and revamp the hospital cafeteria. He incorporates produce grown at local farms, antibiotic-free chicken, beef, and milk, as well as a number of other changes, including:
- Freshly-baked bread without preservatives from local and high-end bakeries
- Sugar-free beverages
- Teaching Kitchens hosted by the executive chef to promote healthy eating
- Nutritional information available for all food items in the cafeteria
- Reduced calorie snacks
- Fresh fruit available 24/7
The engineering team at North Shore University Hospital also created a labyrinth along the campus’ outdoor walking trail — a curving path designed to help participants find their center — to promote mindfulness.
Not only does the health system participate in the above activities, individual departments promote health and wellness, too. The North Shore University Hospital Emergency Department (ED), which sees 90,000 patients per year and has more than 220 team members, has seen much success from HNHN.
The theme of the ED’s wellness initiative is “Promoting Joy at Work.” It includes:
- Pet therapy for frontline staff
- Hand massage and aromatherapy
- An increase in employee recognition
- Encouragement of professional development, like additional education and certifications
- Music therapy for staff and live performances for patients
- Promotion of work/life balance outside of the hospital
Apparently, promoting joy at work pays off.
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