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Why Aren’t We Focusing on Nurses’ Physical Health More?

Copyight puuikibeach,

Today’s #HAWMC writing prompt inquires why I write about my health. I do write about my health – specifically my journey towards a healthy BMI. My physical activity and nutrition are night and day difference from nearly two years ago. When I look at pictures, it is hard to believe I was ever 65 pounds heavier. Yikes! As I’ve seen my weight stall at a numerical value I am honestly not always happy with, I keep reminding myself I continue to lose inches. My body fat percentage is decreasing, and I do feel better than ever. Unfortunately, BMI doesn’t capture that. Drat.

Still, my story is similar to many nurses, yet there’s not a lot happening around the topic. Sure, there are smatterings of programs and initiatives, but where is the uproar about this? In light of nursing shortages, an aging workforce, and increasing patient acuity and long shifts requiring physical stamina, where are the nursing health evangelists? We talk about safety and horizontal violence and compassion fatigue and…hellloooo? Nurses’ poor health is an issue. No one is talking about it, though.

I don’t mean we need to keep obese nurses from the bedside or any other position. Not at all. I’m saying we – a concentrated, powerful, profession-changing “we” – need to recognize the concern within our profession and work to correct it – bettering ourselves and the millions of people we collectively serve.