Clinical TopicsMental HealthMind-Body-SpiritSelf-CareYour Health

Using power skills for personal wellness


WHAT SHOULD YOU BE DOING to take better care of yourself? How can you create more urgency for self-care in your life, despite the stresses and time pressures you face everyday at home, at work, and in the community? How can you both establish and maintain life-long healthy habits?

To help nurses develop self-care skills, I created the Wholistic Health Self-Management Model, which expands the concept of health to acknowledge the dynamic interactions among our three domains:

• the intra-personal domain (body, mind, spirit)
• the inter-personal (social) domain
• the extra-personal (environment) domain.

Note that you, as self-manager, are at the center of the action. The goal is health. The way to attain it is through effective self-care as you lead and manage
your life.

Healthy Action Plan Process
To apply the Wholistic Health Self-Management Model, you need to use the Healthy Action Plan Process, which consists of five “Power Events” that match the steps of the nursing process. Review the Power Event questions, and study the Power Keys for each. (See Power Up with the Healthy Action Plan by clicking on the pdf icon.)

Power Event I
Assess. This event helps you to know yourself better. Be honest as you look at yourself and determinewhere you are. Don’t forget to identify strengths and risks.
Here’s an example of my answers to question one of Power Event I.

Who am I? 60-yr-old female, Caucasian, reaching for potential.
Roles: Self-care, nurse entrepreneur, educator, wife, mother
Priority Role: Physical self-care
Priority Rule: I’m leader and manager of my health-value activity for self
Priority Health Account: Body-activity, exercise

Power Event II
Diagnose. Identify the problem and the cause. I knew my problem was decreased activity and exercise. The primary reason was a condition requiring surgery. My signs included not running for a year.

Power Event III
Plan. As with the nursing process, this event requires setting goals and planning ways to achieve them. Evaluate your supports and barriers and make plans to
maximize the first and minimize the second. Choose a supportive partner you know you can confide in. Inchose my husband. Most important, make your plan as
precise as possible.

I wrote my detailed plan with specific short-, medium-, and long-term goals, such as:
• “Run or walk five days a week.”
• “Climb first 14,000-ft. mountain with family.”
• “Complete my first half-marathon.”

When I finished writing the plan, I signed it. The act of signing the plan makes me committed and accountable.

Power Event IV
Implement. I track my physical activities to monitor progress. Remember, if you get off track, don’t feel like a failure. Instead, get back on track or modify your plan and move forward.

Power Event V
Evaluate. Determine if you’ve reached your goals. Then, decide on your next steps.

Achieving personal wellness
If you have lifestyle changes you’d like to make, try the Healthy Action Plan Process. It will help you enhance personal wellness, be a role model, have greater strength to care for others, and have the tools to assist them with lifestyle changes.

Janice E. Stephens, RN, PhD is Nurse Executive for Wholistic Health Education Services. Concepts for this article are from her 2006 book, Wholistic Health Self-Management Program Core Content. For more information, visit

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