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The Supportive Workplace

The Supportive Workplace

Nicole Lehr | Scrubs Magazine

August 23, 2010

For those gym rats that love working out in a group setting (like myself), the hospital introduced free exercise classes offered each day of the week at the various campuses. I have always found that fitness classes offered at my home gym appealed mainly to the 9am-5pm workers with less favorable classes held after my work hours, but the classes at the hospital are accessible for nurses who get off at 7pm and want a workout prior to their departure for home.

Coinciding with the campaign release was major construction done on the staff stairwell heading to the parking garage. The end result to the construction was kept quiet until completion of the project which resulted in a grand opening of a stair gym brightly painted with murals of various sceneries and motivational quotes on the walls.

The stairwell extends from level P4 (four floors underground of parking garage) to the sixth floor (a total of over ten winding flights of stairs) where you feel as though upon completion you have summitted Mount Everest because of the beautiful snow-covered mountain-top mural painted on the top floor. The stair gym has become my new best friend in the middle of night shifts when my energy level is low and my craving for comfort food is high. Scaling the stair gym two or three times is a fabulous way to get the blood flowing and burn some calories at work.

All in all, the Strong For Life campaign at Children’s has been a huge hit and a major success. In quarterly updates, cumulative pounds lost from employees is released as real evidence that working out and eating right really does work. Various employees are spotlighted with the opportunity for them to boast about their success stories of embracing a healthy lifestyle. One employee in particular who now blogs for Children’s about her struggles with weight control, has lost over 50 pounds by participating in the activities provided by the hospital. Her story was so inspirational that Children’s also offered to pay for a personal trainer to fuel her success even more.

I think my favorite part of this entire campaign is the idea that finally a hospital and its staff are practicing what they preach. Far too often do you find overweight nurses who are educating their patients about ways to prevent health problems but are not following their own advice. Knowing that the staff is concerned about their own health adds validity to patient education on healthy lifestyle choices. Now, with the winter months quickly approaching and the temptation of holiday desserts a constant at the nurse’s station, I have Children’s to thank for my many options to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I have great pride in my organization for being so health-conscience and hope other hospitals are following suit. Any other stories of health-conscience employers to share?

Next: How to Become a Healthier Nurse >>

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