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Empowering nurse health


Successful strategies for a healthier work environment

Andrea Coyle

CREATING a culture that fosters nurses’ health is a priority for Andrea Coyle, MSN, MHA, RN, NE-BC, who has served as Professional Excellence and Magnet® Program Director at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) for nearly a decade and also is adjunct faculty at MUSC College of Nursing. Under her leadership, MUSC won a 2018 Partners All In Award for nurses’ participation in ANA Enterprise’s Healthy Nurse, Healthy NationTM (HNHN) Grand Challenge and implemented a successful nutrition pilot in which MUSC nurses improved their nutritional health by tripling their daily consumption of fruits and vegetables through the program.

Tell us about your efforts to create a healthy work environment at MUSC and how HNHN fits in.
As a Magnet hospital, MUSC has a nursing health strategic plan that complements our organizational strategic plan. Because I’m a South Carolina Nurses Association member, I was familiar with HNHN and had also been reading up on the Quadruple Aim, which considers healthcare providers’ well-being as important to providing good patient care. In addition, MUSC uses the relationship-based care model pioneered by Jean Watson. In that model, one of the three relationships is your relationship with yourself. We really promote health in our facilities and our community, and the HNHN initiative gave us something that we could run with. And who better to role model good health practices than nurses?

What motivated you to take on the HNHN 60-day nutrition pilot program?
When we were approached about partnering with HNHN and Sodexo to pilot a nutrition program on our campus, I saw it as an opportunity to empower nurses by integrating healthy living into nursing culture, which happens to be one of MUSC’s driving strategies. MUSC leadership believes that our care team members need to be healthy so that they can take care of patients and the community we serve.

Why do you think the pilot was such a success?
It was a success because of the commitment and dedication of our nursing leadership and our partners at Sodexo. We came up with an intentional communications strategy, leveraging all of our shared governance councils and many of our internal communications to promote the pilot. Also, we got our clinical team involved. We encouraged many of our clinical nurses to participate and brought in the Simply-to-Go lunches—which included fresh, seasonal food items—to get them on board.

What would you tell other nurse leaders who want to implement HNHN initiatives at their facilities?
HNHN is an effective way to promote healthy lifestyle changes and show nurses that small changes can make a big difference. It demonstrates that taking care of yourself first leads to better patient care. And the fact that it increases awareness of the American Nurses Association and its many programs that benefit nurses is a bonus.

What are your ongoing efforts for nurse health?
I’m not done leading the charge to empower MUSC nurses to take care of themselves. We’re excited about several ideas for how to use the funding from our Partners All In Award, including building mini-gyms around campus and inviting local chefs to campus once a month to teach healthy cooking. We’re also discussing ways to get nursing students to embrace healthy habits and self-care while they’re still in school. It’s critical for nurse leaders to empower nurses at every level.

Healthy Nurse, Healthy NationTM is made possible in part by the generosity of the American Nurses Foundation and its sponsors Humana and Stryker. The 2018 Partners All in Award was made possible by Stryker.

Interview by ElizabethMoore, MFA, writer at ANA.

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