Nurses are known for spending countless hours a day meeting the needs of others. Unfortunately, in our attempts at improving the overall wellness of our patients and their families, our own health suffers.
In this fourth and final part of Nursing the Nurse, we will explore how leading by the example can be the most effective form of treatment—drastically improving the overall wellness of ourselves, our nursing colleagues, and our patients.
Actions speak louder
Nurses spend a lot of their time teaching patients about various lifestyle modifications that can be implemented in order to help achieve optimal health. Unfortunately, we don’t always live by our own words. In order to have the greatest impact on improving the health of ourselves and our patients, we must practice leading by example and becoming the change we wish to see.
Just as children learn by imitating, we are all visual creatures and create habits based on what we see others doing. Thus, when a patient sees a nurse in a cafeteria eating a salad with fruit, they are more likely to take dietary advice more seriously. A patient also benefits indirectly as their nurse is in better shape to tend to their needs.
Positive results provide incentives
When your colleagues notice how energetic and healthy you appear, they are going to start inquiring as to what you are doing. After all, it’s hard to motivate yourself to do something without seeing results right away. Be sure to share your successes, and offer regular insights about your progress.
For example, if you’ve found that staying hydrated helps reduce tension headaches and suppresses the cravings for sugary snacks, be sure to let them know. Your positive results will be sure to get your colleagues interested in learning more about what they can do to feel their best as well.
Join or create a healthy nurses program
One of the best ways to start leading by example is to either join an existing healthy nurses program at work, or to collaborate with your facility’s management to establish one. Many hospitals have already begun establishing programs that focus on providing wellness activities, education and support that are specific to each discipline staffed within the health care organization.
A healthy nurses program may include a variety of services such as: healthy cooking classes, exercise classes, health screenings, smoking cessation services, and mental health workshops. It’s easier to stay on track when you have others holding you accountable, and leading by example for your colleagues will have a trickle down effect for your patients.
This article was originally published on Calling All Nurses.