The Good Life: Enhancing Nurses’ Quality Of Life

Nursing is a rewarding profession, but it’s also a taxing one. Not only are nurses in demand around the clock, they’re often dealing with life-and-death scenarios. The fallout from those experiences can take a physical and emotional toll. In fact, the health of American nurses is worse than that of the average American in almost every domain.

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Did you know nurses are more likely to be more overweight, have more stress, and get less sleep than the average American? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses have the fourth highest rate of injuries and illnesses that result in days away from work when compared to all other occupations. It’s time to find new ways to help nurses find balance, improve their resiliency and live healthier, happier lives.
 
Stress and Depression
The vast majority of nurses – 82% – experience workplace stress, according to the American Nurses Association’s 2016 Health Risk Appraisal. Chronic stress has lasting negative health effects, impacting the immune, digestive, and reproductive systems, and interfering with sleep and mood.
 
What’s more, research suggests that 18% to 29% of nurses experience depression – a rate twice as high as that of people in the general population.
 
As members of a caring profession, nurses’ emotions often run high. That can lead to compassion fatigue, when the mental toll of their work begins to chip away at their empathy. While others never develop compassion fatigue, they can get tired of the emotional rollercoaster and may even choose to leave the profession.
 
A Healthy Balance
The Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ (HNHN) Grand Challenge urges nurses to take action within five domains: nutrition, activity, safety, sleep, and quality of life. When it comes to quality of life, there’s a lot of overlap with the other four domains. Diet, exercise, safety, and sleep are all critical components of a balanced life.
 
And that’s a good thing. It means making changes in just one facet of health can move the dial to improve overall wellbeing. Yet in addition to addressing other areas of health directly, nurses can also take active steps to improve the quality of their lives.
 
Whether it’s through mindfulness, treasured hobbies, a spiritual practice, time spent in nature, or something else altogether, nurses can discover better ways to manage stress, create balance, and make time for the things that bring them joy.
 
To have a real impact, nurses and their peers must work together to support those healthier choices. Their employers, too, must be committed to creating healthy working environments that support their nurses’ quality of life.
 
When nurses are able to live safe and healthy lives of their own, they’re better equipped to improve the health and safety of others.
 
Learn more about the Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ (HNHN) Grand Challenge, a social movement to create a healthy nation, starting with healthy nurses. Find this helpful? Share your comments, stories, challenges, or successes with us and other nurses like you! Let us know what you think on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Tag us with #HealthyNurse.

 
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Source List:
The American Nurses Association’s Health Risk Appraisal - Exploratory Data Analysis, November 30, 2016.
Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation: A synthesis of research regarding the status of nurses’ health in the United States, 2016. (White Paper).
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). 5 Things You Should Know About Stress 


 
Posted by Jaime M Dawson on Feb 10, 2017 1:19 PM CST

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Great blog article. Nurses really do need to take better care of one another rand encourage others to live more balanced life styles
  • Posted Fri 24 Feb 2017 08:03 AM CST

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