The average full-time employee in America works 46.7 hours per week. But as healthcare workers know all too well, hospital hours are long and often include double shifts. What is the effect of these long hours on employee health? Research shows that overwork can lead to poor sleep, depression, and even serious health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.
Busy nurses often think about the needs of their patients before their own. Making an effort to include wellness activities can help alleviate some of the stress nurses experience, as well reduce health risks. What are the benefits of a wellness program? We’ll cover this topic along with 10 ideas you can try right now.
Focus on well-rounded wellness
Being well is more than just feeling healthy or avoiding sickness and injury. The American Nurses Association defines a healthy nurse as “one who focuses actively on creating and maintaining a balance and synergy of physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, personal, and professional well-being”. Addressing all aspects of health is what can make the biggest impact. Identify ways that you can improve not only physical health, but also workplace well-being such as reducing health hazards, encouraging team collaboration, and combating lateral violence.
Improve employee engagement and satisfaction
Let’s face it; the nurses you manage invest a lot of time in their jobs. So why not try to make it enjoyable? Studies show that employees who participate in wellness programs report higher job satisfaction rates, 61% according to the 2016 Aflac Workforce Report. Group activities, even some friendly competition on who can get the most steps in a week, can build comradery and make employees feel more connected to their co-workers and organization. Additionally, achieving a goal gives employees a sense of satisfaction, especially if they are working towards a reward or incentive.
Lower healthcare costs for your organization
It’s an undisputable fact that healthy employees cost less than unhealthy ones in terms of insurance costs as well as time missed for illness. It’s estimated that up to 70 percent of healthcare spending is caused by problems associated with unhealthy lifestyle choices that can lead to chronic diseases. Employers can save hundreds to thousands of dollars for every employee who quits smoking, lowers their cholesterol or loses enough weight to no longer fall into the obese category. Presenting some of these statistics can help you convince administrators that worksite wellness will benefit both nurses and the organization as a whole.
Now let’s take a look at our 10 ideas that you can start implementing now, for little cost.
10 ideas for wellness activities
- Circulate a wellness survey to get ideas about what programs or activities your staff would like to see.
- Offer on-site classes such as how to get better sleep, healthy meals on the go, and how to safely lift/move patients.
- Start a walking club and map out a route in or around the hospital to share with participants.
- Begin a weight management challenge during the holiday season (when all those snacks creep into the break rooms).
- Create a team for a community event such as a healthy heart walk or dance-a-thon.
- Sponsor a yoga or meditation class.
- Create an employee cookbook – have everyone share one healthy recipe and combine them into a PDF to share.
- Host an all employee field day
- 21 day gratitude challenge – have employees write down 3 things they are appreciative of each day for 3 weeks.
- Join the ANA Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation grand challenge
As a nurse leader, we know you’re always looking out for your staff nurses’ best interest. By incorporating a worksite wellness program, you’re not only supporting the physical and mental health of your nurses, but also encouraging a healthy work environment and investing in long term benefits.
If you’re looking for other ways to make your staff nurses feel appreciated and empowered, check out our SlideShare for nurse leaders, Empower Your Team to Provide Patient-Centered Care.