April 7 was World Health Day, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has selected hypertension as this year’s “theme.” So, we thought we’d compile a list of inspiring links to help lower your blood pressure! We’ve brought together a wide variety of stories and reports to motivate you to be healthy and whole in all areas of your life and career—and to highlight the fantastic work nurses are doing to combat hypertension. Strap on your BP cuff, put your feet up and relax!
Don’t Give Up on Romance
When BSN Jenny Kratz quit her regular nursing job and took to the road, she wasn’t looking for love. But that’s what she found. Now, she and her significant other are inseparable. “We met on my first travel assignment about two weeks into it and have been together since. He signed on with American Mobile Healthcare and has been traveling with me for the last year and a half,” she says. Since being happily married lowers your blood pressure (according to researchers at BYU), here’s to a long and healthy life for the happy couple!
One Family at a Time
The wonderful nurses at Nurse-Family Partnership live their passion for helping first-time moms raise healthy babies. You’ll certainly be uplifted by reading their stories. Supporting breastfeeding is an important part of this work. Ironically, data from a study on nurses who nursed their own infants has shown evidence that breastfeeding may be connected to a lower risk of hypertension.
Nurses Make Great Scientists
Carolyn B. Yucha, registered nurse and dean of the University of Nevada, was recently recognized with a prestigious AACN Advocate of the Year Award. It’s not surprising since she’s well known for her advocacy as well as her work investigating how biofeedback can successfully reduce blood pressure. We can’t wait to see what she does next!
Against All Odds
This heartwarming story of a young woman who had the deck stacked against her shows that dreams can come true. After a string of family and financial crises left Irma London living at the Covenant House for homeless and at-risk youth, Irma is now attending college to become a nurse. Young people like Ms. London will be the ones helping patients keep their blood pressure under control someday soon. So, be thankful for kids who don’t give up no matter what!
Take a Deep Breath
Have you ever heard of Resperate? Mayo Clinic emeritus hypertension specialist Dr. Sheps and a team of specially trained nurses and other professionals are responsible for the development and implementation of this simple electronic device to help patients take control of their blood pressure. The gadget reminds patients to breathe deeply—something that nurses already know is helpful. Now, you can point patients to online research showing that it really works.
Membership Numbers Up, BP Numbers Down
According to the latest report from the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association, fully one third of nurses who participated in PCNA symposiums saw improvements in patient outcomes for hypertension as a result. So, take heart that you can still learn a thing or two about helping patients even if you’ve been a nurse for a long time! Be sure to check out all the free educational resources provided on the PCNA site.
Baby Steps to Better Work/Life Balance?
You know that it’s important for patients to relax and take it easy from time to time to have better blood pressure. But you probably don’t take your own advice. Your current employer may not make it easy to have good work/life balance. Happily, a few “forward-thinking healthcare organizations” are actually starting to take the needs of nurses into account in developing wellness programs. Hopefully, this is a trend that will catch on….
Meet the Yoga Nurse
What could be better for your blood pressure than yoga? We love stories about nurses who have created a second career doing something they love. The “Yoga Nurse” (Annette Tersigni) has parlayed her passion for yoga and nursing into a new movement. She’s also the best-selling author of The Richest Woman in Babylon and Manhattan. What a powerhouse! It just goes to show that nurses really can do anything they put their minds to.
Really Early Intervention
Nurses don’t just help middle-age patients stave off hypertension. They also play a huge role in educating kids about wellness. Take a peek at what healthcare professionals involved with the Healthy Schools Campaign and the Georgia Association of School Nurses are doing to keep children fit and happy. If you are a school nurse, we applaud your efforts to keep all those young hearts healthy!
Gaining Global Perspective
According to Partners in Health, nurses make up between 60 and 80 percent of the global healthcare workforce. But more than one third of all health workers live in the U.S. and Canada. Areas with the least access to routine healthcare have the highest rates of high blood pressure (40 to 50 percent of adults in the WHO African region)—and it often goes undiagnosed. Hopefully, these numbers will inspire you to do something to address hypertension on a global scale. Consider giving time and other resources to programs that put nurses in contact with patients in developing countries.
That’s it for our World Health Day roundup. What inspires you today? Let us know in the comments section.