First established in May 1989, this celebration of health and fitness at the workplace has quickly grown into one of the largest employee health programs in the US. As of 2014, nearly 30,000 individuals were participating, across 37 states, 71 cities, and 6,607 organizations.
The idea behind Global Employee Health and Fitness Month is simple – healthy employees are happy, able to deliver better results, and live more satisfying lives. Because of this, it’s crucial that employers provide their employees with the tools, resources, and programs necessary for them to take steps to improve their physical health, and their well-being.
So, to help our readers, we’ve put together a list of 4 fun ways that your hospital or practice can encourage nurses, doctors, and other administrative staff to live healthier lives! Read on, and see how better employee health can change your workplace!
- Take Steps To Prevent Standing-Related Ailments
We’ve all heard about the myriad of ailments that can occur to sedentary office workers – most studies say that sitting all day can increase your risk of a heart attack by over 54%, and is also a cause of obesity, diabetes, and overall mortality.
And while sitting all day is certainly not good for your health, there is plenty of evidence that being on your feet all day can also be harmful. Though standing isn’t known to increase your risk of heart disease, there are many other issues that can happen to nurses who are on their feet all day.
These include lower back pain, neck and shoulder stiffness, aches and pains in the feet, and other standing-related issues like plantar fasciitis. Standing all day can also increase your risk of chronic venous insufficiency, a condition where blood doesn’t flow effectively from the legs to the heart.
To mitigate these risks, you should focus on providing your feet and legs with adequate support. Consider replacing old, worn-out shoes, and purchasing a new, more supportive pair. In addition, you should try to sit down when you can during your shift – you don’t want to go more than a couple hours without resting for at least a few minutes.
Beginning a comprehensive stretching program can also be helpful, allowing your musculoskeletal system to adjust more effectively to the rigors of your position.
- Organize Active Employee Outings
If your hospital or physician practice has regular employee events, this is a great time to encourage better employee health. You could suggest an outing to a local sand volleyball court, or a picnic at a park.
It’s best to choose an event that’s appropriate for people of all physical fitness levels – you don’t want anyone to feel left out. This is why low-impact sports like kickball are popular. They’re easy to learn, fun for everyone, and can still get your blood pumping.
- Encourage Staff To Get Regular Physicals
When’s the last time you had a checkup? And we don’t mean using the blood pressure collar on yourself when you were bored during a long shift! Seriously – so many nurses, doctors, and other staff members don’t get regular physicals.
But working at a hospital doesn’t mean you’re somehow immune to disease or chronic ailments. In fact, it means there’s no excuse for not getting regular checkups, and being aware of your own physical health.
So if you haven’t had a recent physical, get one. Knowledge is power – and until you’re aware of your overall level of physical health, you can’t take the right steps to improve it.
- Provide Adequate Sleeping Facilities For On-Duty Staff
Sleep is probably the single biggest issue that faces nurses. A vast majority of nurses have reported suffering from sleep deprivation, especially if they work the night shift.
Sleep deprivation can decrease cognitive function, mood and mental health, and overall life expectancy – and hospitals need to take this into account when promoting the health of their employees.
Many doctors and surgeons who work 24-hour or longer shifts already have access to dedicated sleep rooms, and there is increasing evidence that these facilities could be very helpful for nursing staff who are working long shifts.
Though most nurses don’t pull 24-hour shifts, having an on-site sleeping facility could help mitigate the effects of tiredness and contribute to better overall employee health.
Follow These Steps To Better Health!
Global Employee Health and Fitness Month is certainly a great cause – and if you’d like to get involved, or sign your facility up for the program, feel free to visit their website now.
But even if you don’t get involved with this event in any official capacity, May is a great time to consider the overall health and well-being of your coworkers, supervisors, and colleagues.
So look at these tips, think them over, and see how you can implement these programs in your own hospital – or suggest them to management!