May 5 2012
The World Health Organization, in it’s World Health Statistic report 2011 (a pdf), reported a number of 2,927,000 nurses/midwives in the USA and 19,379,771 globally (pages 122-124). At RunningNurse we are interested in two things: running, and promoting the advancement of health in nurses locally and worldwide. The latter is a task that will take much collaboration from our comrades, cohorts, and pretty much everyone interested in such beautiful endeavor, including the institution we work for and the neighborhoods where we live and serve.
On a daily basis a nurse (LPN, RN, NP, CCRN, Nurse Midwives, etc) cares of our loved ones (and everybody else), sometimes leaving little time to care for him/herself. Nurses spend a great amount of time caring for others, yet there remains little initiatives to care for them. The annual National Nurse Week (May 6 – May 12) celebration, in honor of a nurse’s dedication to the profession and the good work we do, oftentimes comes up very lacking. Maybe the institution’s celebration should focus on nurse health instead. Instead of giving nurses that lethal box of doughnuts and ice cream, a gift of a nice treadmill or a Cannondale road bike to each would do just fine. We believe the best thing anyone could do for a nurse is to encourage him/her to celebrate health and stay well.
Despite some negativity a nurses may encounter at work about their performances, and those mentioned from time to time in the media, most nurses care to give you the very best when on duty (are we ever off?). Nurses are not perfect. We will make some mistakes while we grow in the profession. Yes, occasionally, you will get a seemingly burn out nurse, one who does not do things as perfectly as the other nurse that they’ve followed. And you will sometimes have to wait a good Southern minute for that cool pitcher of water, or that eagerly-awaited pain shot. You may even have to lay there in your hospital bed waiting for a procedure (eg. Postponed surgery or intervention) while you burn with displeasure, but this is not usually the nurse’s fault (O.K. There may be a bit bias here). You may also contemplate how nursing schools would do more justice training nurses on skates, not on feet. This is your right.
Know that on a good 12.5 hour shift day, a nurse is allowed two 15 minutes breaks and only a HALF hour lunch at most institutions. And these figures oftentimes is very theoretical. Some hospitals are better than others in assuring a nurse get all of her breaks, and some states have stricter regulations on how an institution should treat a nurse when it comes to these. Most local or traveling nurses will tell you that depending on which hospital you work for and in which state the facility resides, you are sometimes lucky if you get a break much less a decent lunch.
In our posts we encourage nurses to consider running as a viable activity to help you stay in shape. Even though we hope to motivate you to run, we also hope to highlight the serious challenge nurses face in caring for themselves. Self care in nurses seem to be a major issue impacting our health and wellness, one that could also carry serious economical implication in a time when we frequently are told of a nursing shortage. Many nurses are suffering from some of the same chronic and debilitating diseases as their clients, and are taking some of the same prescription medicines. In a way this could also ad to our empathy and help us understand more what it is to walk in a client shoes.
But as a patient laying in a cold hospital bed, you may want to be served by a healthy, agile, and fit nurse. Sometimes in assisting each others turn a client, you may hear a nurse inadvertently groan because of the effort it may take to turn some people. A nurses role requires not only the use of mental muscles, but those involving the core and peripheral limbs. I am certain you wouldn’t want someone to fall on you while trying to help you get you up from a chair. This is why it is everyone’s responsibility to encourage nurse health. Instead of complaining of how slow your nurse seems to be in attending your call (never mind she may have 7 or 8 other patients tugging on her scrubs), encourage her to stay healthy and fit. Yes, it also takes a village to train a nurse.
OYE! Running is not the only way to help a nurses stay fit, and I do recommend you seek the advice of your primary care practitioner first, but do consider this great activity/sport a viable way to help you stay in shape. Running or jogging (slow running) is known to offer many health benefits (don’t forget the importance of a balanced nutrition) which we have discussed in previous posts. Nurses oftentimes run their butts off in wards, units, and other healthcare settings–sometimes under heavy mental and physical stress. Why not take up running for you? This is what we are about here at RunningNurse. We are running for you and also like to run with you…in solidarity…for our own health and freedom. Have a great National Nurse Week!
We welcome any constructive criticism, suggestions, or post from other running nurses. Please feel free to join us in our endeavor in promoting nurse health.