Nurses Modeling Health: Give Me a Break, Hours Worked Suggest Nurse Wellness

Thursday, 25 July 2013: 1:55 PM

Susan M. Priano, BSN, MSN
School of Nursing, University of California, San Francisco, CA

Learning Objective 1: Explain why nurse's personal lifestyles practices may influence behavior changes your family, community and workplace.

Learning Objective 2: Describe the relationship between the acute care nurse perception of personal lifestyles practices and the number of hours worked.

Purpose: The purpose of this interpretive phenomenological study is to understand how Registered Nurses as knowledge workers and caregivers perceive and embody wellness or health promotion personally and how they influence their family, patients, and community.

Methods: A qualitative Interpretive Phenomenology preliminary study was conducted. Five self-selected acute care registered nurses were interviewed for approximately one hour at their residence in order to gain insight about their unique perspectives/essence of their lived experiences of lifestyle practices respective of socio-cultural and structural settings.

Results: All five nurse participants identified components of a healthy lifestyle, yet only two embodied healthy lifestyles congruent in both personal and professional domains by working less than full time, prioritizing their health over economic gain, had positive self-concept, agency, and empowerment influencing patients. 

Conclusion: Embodiment of healthy lifestyles is less a component of nurse education, experience or age, but rather a by-product of the lived-experiences of nurses emanating from their unique socio-cultural perspective. Individuals empowered to live healthfully influence their families but are stymied by larger organizational, social, and structural components such as the workplace which fails to incorporate wellness measures such as proper rest, nourishment, exercise, and the familial/social needs of nurses. If nurses were able to embody health in the workplace, practice to the extent of their license, be reimbursed for well care then lifestyle changes may be realized as prescriptions for health within and without the structural restraints of an acute care setting.