What Is Wrong With Your Proprioceptors?

Good evening everyone!  It was a bit rainy and warm day here in South Florida today.  If you missed your morning run I hope you had a chance this evening to run.  I would have preferred to run the beach, but today I took my day of rest.  (Trying to shake a bug that was handed over to me last week.)  There is just something about my feet emerged in salt water that gives me a natural high. (don’t get any ideas!)  Today I am thankful for the choices of beaches we have in the area: Fort Lauderdale, South Miami, North Miami, Hollywood, and Hollandale beach.  If you live or are visiting this side of town, don’t be afraid to explore, even if your name isn’t Dora.

Before I make a run to my bed tonight, I have one question for you.  Is there anything wrong with your proprioceptors?  A Proprioceptor is defined as “a sensory receptor, found chiefly in muscles, tendons, joints, and the inner ear, that detects the motion or position of the body or a limb by responding to stimuli arising within the organism.”  Proprioceptors simply tell your joints where you are in a certain space. (Yes Mom, I didn’t get that baccalaureate degree in Biology for nothing!  Still sending some Kleenex your way…)  Conceptually and poetically, you can view a proprioceptor as being a compass that direct you to the position where you should be in order to function maximally and effectively and with balance.


It was challenging for me to gain balance on my leg after each stress fracture.  When I tried to stand alone on the effected leg I could only do so a few seconds at time, and all the yoga I’d done in the past on that one leg did not help me.  I was sort of wobbly.  The weight I’d put on from inactivity and crawling around on hands and knees did not help the situation either.  I was lopsided.  Literally!  The ankle of the affected foot was thicker, and the muscles weaker than the healthy one that had to do all the work while I was a down-and-almost-out runner.  I finally got me a personal trainer to help get my proprioceptors in the effected lower extremity fine tuned and my body back in shape.

Many nurses’ proprioceptors have been dulled, stomped, depressed, and suppressed by several variables (eg. understaffed facilities, sicker clienteles, what seems like unrealistic organizations expectations, workplace stress, lack of stick-to-it-ness on our part, etc).  Although the system can be a bit rough sometimes, many of us are complacent and contribute little to the improvement of the profession and are…just breathing.  There are some of us who have exerted a bit of effort, felt stomped by the system, and well… stayed right there on the down-low.  Again, breathing.  A whole bunch of young graduates ran out of health-care’s door when the work proved too much for them and hopped over there to waiting tables (I heard you can make a decent living there), back to their old professions (being a bum), or they went back to school to pursue some other discipline.  Oftentimes it seems like as nurses we are too busy pulling each other down.  This vicious cycle has been going on from the time they slapped that ugly white hat on our heads back in yonder days.

Despite all our perceived short-comings, we are an awesome group of healthcare workers.  Why?  We care!  Yes, we should trademark that like Nike did “Just Do It!”  Sometimes we tend to forget that healthcare could not survive without the nurses who do much of the legwork, footwork, brain-work, heart-work (you get it?) of trying to keep clients alive in a hospital setting.  Yes we could not do it alone without the help of the nursing assistants, dietitians, pharmacists, doctors, unit secretaries, respiratory therapists, management, etc.  The multidisciplinary team is very necessary for the optimal survival of a client, but we do a lot of the work.  Period!

Despite much of our contribution, many of us are unbalanced financially, psychologically, spiritually,  physically, and, yes, even socially.  Some of these elements, it seems, may take a lifetime (and then another, if you are a Buddhist) of trial-and-error to fine tune.  And if tomorrow you are able to peel your eyes open to jump up and brush your teeth and head off to work, consider yourself blessed.  It’s not just one more day at the joint to feed your face, but one more day to focus on something you can change about you or the profession to get you (us) standing taller.

Now let me share with you how I think we can fine-tune those proprioceptors of ours.  It is not that I have everything together.  Lordie knows this is far from the truth, and I might very well need to be a Buddhist to earn ten more lifetimes whereby I can get my life in total right-balance.  Last year, I jumped off those crutches and out of the boot and decided I will put myself in the best position to get back in shape to feel and look good naked.  When you are fit and love your body, many things in your life may improve: your health (Exercise and healthy living may be health-protective), finances (Cha-Ching!  Having a positive body image may give you the added boost to get you out of bed and into work to whine your waist or practice your swag around the unit), psychologically (a healthier self-esteem), spiritually (no longer hating your slimmer co-workers), and socially (some folks may actually wanna be around you or run with you).

OYE!  This is the year we will take our health back and take wellness into the workplace.  We will do the little things consciously and consistently to improve the image of nursing, and take back the scepter of promoting health and wellness.  If you have no clue how to go about doing this, here are a few tips:

1.  Read more health literature.  Too often we concentrate on disease and illnesses, and oftentimes they seem to follow us.

2.  Take wellness classes and get you a few certifications.  It sure help to learn something different.  Many institutions are offering classes on wellness and holistic nursing. 

3.  Keep abreast of new researches in the field.  You can do this by reading nursing journals and medical literature (they’ve caught on too).

4.  Clean your house of weapons of mass obesity:  you know, all the artificial foods and addictive junk in your cabinets.

5.  Train to be a runner!  Okay, just get the body moving on a regular basis.  Choose a sport or activity that you love.

6.  Learn to leave the stress at the workplace.  Drop it off to the supervisor before you split! Walk straight out the door.