July 2015
Swank Health: Your monthly news from Swank HealthCare


Swank HealthCare

Recommended Courses*

  • 33516 Stress Management
  • 21144 Healthy Sleep
  • 44615 Stress and Time Management
  • 37616 Sleep Deprivation
  • 32815 Workplace Bullying and Lateral Violence

* course numbers may vary by facility

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November 2016

Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation Grand Challenge

A recent American Nurses Association (ANA) survey of registered and student nurses revealed alarming findings about the health, wellness and safety of their work environments. Among them:

  • 82% said they are at a significant level of risk for workplace stress
  • The majority reported being above their ideal weight range for their height
  • 42% ranked lifting heavy objects as a significant health and safety risk
  • More than half said they experience musculoskeletal pain at work
  • Up to half had been bullied in the workplace
  • Almost 25% had been physically assaulted at work
  • 60% reported working through their breaks and coming in early and/or staying late to accomplish their work

In January, the ANA will launch the “Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation” Grand Challenge to transform the health of the nation’s 3.6 million registered nurses. The ANA defines a healthy nurse as one who actively focuses on creating and maintaining a balance and synergy of physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, personal and professional wellbeing.

For some, the goal of being healthy might seem too overwhelming. It’s important to remember, however, that “healthy” is not a goal with an end date; it is a process. The most important aspect of the process is progress, not perfection, and small steps in the right direction are the best way to move toward better health.

Use these tips to stay on track.

  • Change one behavior at a time. Replacing bad behaviors with healthy ones requires time. Failure often happens when trying to change too much too quickly. As a new behavior becomes a habit, add something new.
  • Break big goals down into small specific ones. Big changes occur through a series of small victories. If you want to lose 20 pounds, make it your goal to lose two pounds over the next 10 days. If you want to start exercising, make it your goal to start with five to 10 minutes this week. If you’re already exercising and want to improve endurance, add five additional minutes to your usual routine for the next seven days.
  • Stay positive. Negative self-talk can derail habit changes and goals. Be your own cheerleader and create a positive mantra. Recite it to yourself whenever negativity creeps in, like “I’m strong and I can do this!” Focus on what you’re gaining instead of what you’re giving up.
  • Have a support system. Tell family members, friends and co-workers about your goals and plans for meeting them. These should be people who you can turn to when you’re losing motivation or facing temptations that could derail your goals. Online forums are another source of support.
  • Don’t be derailed. Relapse is common, perhaps even inevitable. When you fail, don’t fall into the trap of believing healthy behaviors are all or nothing. Think of it as a part of the change process. Learn something new about yourself and adjust your strategy.
  • Reward success. Little rewards along the way stimulate a cycle of positive change. Choose enjoyable, positive rewards that are appropriate for the milestone.

10 Healthy Habits To Start Today

Adopting healthy habits doesn’t have to mean changing your whole life. In fact, small changes are more likely to become lasting ones. Here are some simple ideas you can start doing today.

  1. Take the stairs. At home, work, or anywhere you go, take the stairs every chance you get. To start, commit to the stairs anytime you’re going up or down three flights or less. As it gets easier and becomes a habit, increase the commitment one flight at a time.
  2. Take mini-walks. Get off the subway or bus one stop early and park your car as far from the front door as possible. Commit 10 minutes of lunch or coffee breaks each day to brisk walking. You’ll be surprised how small distances add up and how many more steps you’ll add to your daily routine.
  3. Avoid mindless eating. Eating in front of the TV, computer or phone not only results in overeating in the moment, it causes you to forget how much you’re consuming, leading to overeating throughout the day. In addition, when these bad behaviors become a habit, they also become triggers for eating.
  4. Unplug. Research shows that being constantly connected can cause problems with relationships, mental health, sleep, productivity, creativity and can even lead to being less empathetic. Power down electronic devices for at least two hours everyday and take longer “technology vacations” for 24 to 48 hours once a month.
  5. Laugh it off. Laughter has powerful benefits. It helps reduce physical tension, boosts the immune system, triggers the release of endorphins that promote an overall sense of well-being and improves blood flow. Make a conscious effort to add more laughter to your life.
  6. Drink more water. This can help reduce the risk of colon and bladder cancers, help you think clearer, be less cranky, perform better, reduce fatigue, lose weight, have less joint pain, prevent headaches, flush out harmful toxins and improve the color and texture of your skin. Create a new habit by linking water to common daily activities. For example: drink four ounces every time you leave the restroom and eight ounces before every meal.
  7. Get more sleep. Bright light is a trigger for our brains that it’s time to be awake and alert. Avoid bright phones, laptops, and TVs one to two hours before bedtime. After getting in bed, practice relaxation and deep breathing exercises. Deep breathing mimics your body’s state when it’s relaxed, helping you fall asleep faster.
  8. Foster the mind-body-spirit connection. The mind, body and spirit are inextricably connected. Improving the health of one element affects the others. Set aside 10 to 15 minutes every day to engage in meditation, prayer, scripture reading, singing, inspirational books, religious services or exercises in gratitude and forgiveness.
  9. Add mini-workouts to your bathroom breaks. People take six to 10 bathroom breaks per day and doing one to two minute mini-workouts every break is a simple and easy way to add to your daily fitness routine. Try doing 10 to 15 squats, calf raises and hamstring curls every time you visit the restroom.
  10. Commit to lifelong learning. The process of lifelong learning opens the mind, fosters creativity, increases wisdom, enhances personal and professional development and keeps the mind healthy. Make it a priority by committing two hours per week or 20 minutes per day to learning.

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Tell the victim that she needs to leave the abuser.

Answer: DON’T – She already knows she needs to leave but she doesn’t feel she can. Instead, discuss a safety plan.

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Affirm that domestic violence is wrong and that talking to you is the right thing to do.

Answer: DO – Violent partners often blame the victim for their actions. Reassure him or her that it’s not their fault and that no one deserves to be abused.

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Stay quiet if physical and other signs indicate abuse could be occurring, but the victim denies violence as the cause.

Answer: DON’T - Let the victim known you’re concerned and that the type of signs you’re seeing are sometimes associated with abuse. Provide referral information and encourage a return visit if violence occurs in the future. Ensure him or her that confidentiality is a priority. Document your concern in the medical record.

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Health professionals should confront an abuser about their behavior if they are present.

Answer: DON’T – An abuser may try to harm a confronter or retaliate against a victim for talking about abuse. Instead, talk to the patient about a safety plan.

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Take photographs of injuries caused by domestic violence.

Answer: DO – Photos are valuable evidence should a case be filed against the abuser in the future. Ask the patient for permission and obtain written consent. Let him or her know that photos will become part of the medical record and can only be released to the police or prosecutor with his or her permission or by court order.

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