Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation Campaign Helps both Nurses and Patients

As the largest group of healthcare workers, nurses provide the greatest amount of direct hands-on healthcare for Americans. The well-being of this all-important population of care providers is vital to the health of the nation. That’s why the Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ Grand Challenge was launched to transform the health of the nation by improving the health of our 4 million registered nurses.

This initiative engages both individual nurses and healthcare organizations to take action to improve nurses’ physical activity, sleep, nutrition, quality of life, and safety. Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation provides a web platform to inspire action, promotes friendly competition, provides resources for healthy living to nurses, gathers data, and connects nurses with each other, and with employers and organizations.

AMN Healthcare recently joined Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation as a Champions sponsor and is the first healthcare staffing and workforce solutions company to become a program partner.

“This innovative challenge to enhance the health of our nation’s nurses will directly improve the experience and outcomes of every patient, family and community served,” said Dr. Cole Edmonson, AMN’s Chief Clinical Officer. “Our joining Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation is a clear demonstration of our continued commitment and dedication to the well-being of every clinician. We believe we can accelerate the transformation of healthcare in our nation by supporting the health of our nation’s largest profession -- nursing”

Launched by the American Nurses Association Enterprise in 2017, the Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation campaign is particularly important because nurses – on average -- tend to be less healthy than other people. “For nearly every indicator, the health of America’s nurses is worse than that of the average American,” according to research cited by the HNHN GC. “Nurses are more likely to be overweight, have higher levels of stress, and get less than the recommended hours of sleep.”

The campaign not only strives to improve the health of nurses but also the nation’s health through raising the quality of care delivered by nurses. As the nation's most trusted profession and its largest group of healthcare professionals, nurses have a unique opportunity to serve as healthy role models. If nurses increased their personal wellness, it could become a strong impetus for their families, co-workers, and patients to follow suit.

In the first year of the program, some participant organizations began offering free exercise and nutrition programs, healthier cafeteria options, calorie counts on food served, million-step challenges, and removed sugar-sweetened beverages on site. Lack of physical activity is a particular problem for nurses. The Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation survey found that 19% of respondents do not engage in any type of exercise, while about half report never engaging in vigorous activity. Only 40% said that workplace exercise facilities are available. One school of nursing that is a Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation Champion began a program encouraging all students and faculty to walk a minimum of 10,000 steps per day. Team coaches actively recruited participants to take part and supported their progress.

While nurses know first-hand that healthy lifestyles lead to improved health for patients, there is often a disconnect when it comes to taking care of themselves. Research shows that nurses who take part in self-care are more likely to pass on to their patients the benefits of healthy activities and choices.