Kicking off Employee Wellness programs (and confessions from the Chief Nurse)

Kicking off Employee Wellness programs (and confessions from the Chief Nurse)

(a letter to our employees from chief nursing officer, Sherry Perkins, PhD, RN)

Dear Nursing Staff, This week we kick off an Employee Wellness program. I thought I would start with confessions.

I turned 50 this year. And I weigh 50 pounds more than when I was 35–this is not a good trend. How is that possible? Three pounds or so a year. I know statistics and linear projections–at 65 I could weigh like 700 pounds and won’t be able to have my joints replaced. I know this weight gain is  the most detrimental thing to my health–risk for diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, arthritis. By the way, how do I know specifically age 35? The last picture I really liked was Claire’s First Communion in second grade–she is about to start her senior year of college.

I’ve packed on 20 since I’ve been at Anne Arundel – I call it the Alec 10 and then the Building 20.  Reality: I eat more than I burn off, I can graze around the hospital seven days a week, have the nudgy midlife metabolic issues, and medicine (cruel joke) that helps me gain weight. I also haven’t been taking very good care of myself – sleep and exercise-wise.

By the way, turning 50 has inspired me to make sure we are paying better attention to  nurse health and balance. At our June 10, 2011 Nursing Strategic Plan retreat, we will kick off focus on our older nurses, sleep deprivation, and compassion fatigue.

Other things I’m paying attention to at 50:

  1. I got a doctor – a primary care physician who looks at my whole picture
  2. got a dermatology body scan- easy
  3. went to the eye doctor- easy
  4. mammogram – have been doing every year since 40, the new machines are really not painful at all
  5. pap smear – no reason to get cervical cancer – easy to get done
  6. I don’t need a colonoscopy this year (but you do at 50 and beyond) only ‘cuz I had one two years ago (I have a very scoped colon)
  7. I’m working on losing the weight. Rip food from my hands when you see me grazing. I’ve had a couple of missteps over last couple months and hope to be back on track.
  8. I’m exercising — do not let me get on an elevator. I had to set a goal: I will do the IronGirl triathlon on August 21 (a short swim, 20+ mile bike ride, and 3.1 mile run – In my case I will walk it.)  Last time I swam in a pool the lifeguard asked me if I needed help after my first lap – pitiful. By the way, no high fives yet.  This will be approximately the 5th triathlon I’ve signed up for and got the t-shirt, but didn’t actually participate…

What next? I asked my doc, Pat Czapp, to give us some advice in general and specific to each decade and easier ways to get the preventive care you need.  Check out the next post, we will blog with her and we can post all the requests as anonymous if you’d like. For more info about Wellness events going on this week, click here.


  1. Posted by Holly Greever, at Reply

    I for one will admit to much negative chatter about how far the new cafeteria is from the Clatanoff. As a Clatanoff nurse I want to now publically thank you for this move. In an effort to drop some pounds, the walk ALL THE WAY to the new cafeteria is just not worth it! I would like to say I have a new found will to avoid the Carlson’s doughnuts….. not so much. I just don’t feel like walking over there after a 12 hour night shift. Thanks AAMC for supporting my weight loss efforts. With additional efforts, I have already moved down a scrub size. This is really great since they are so nicely color coded by size (who thought that was a good idea?). Regardless of my desire to do so my coworkers have a visual indicator of my success! You may get a letter of complaint from Carlson’s though; they lost their best customer 🙂 Holly

  2. Posted by Deb Keane, at Reply

    I like it !
    We could play James Brown’s “Get Up Offa That Thing” as a theme song!

  3. Posted by mary etta barbour, at Reply

    What a wonderful email!
    Thank you so much.
    Next month I turn 64, and have had many of your same reflections.
    The thought of retirement….as with everything else, when something is actually looking you in the face, the thought doesn’t really look so appealing!! Especially in this economic environment.

    My small amount of research, limited to articles from AARP and magazine articles! Tells me to keep your job, as long as you can.
    I would like to share with you, that the leadership reflected by Lil Banchero, Marianne Mckiernan and yourself has encouraged me too not turn into that nurse, who obviously, is counting the minutes till her last day!

    I will be looking forward to the outcome to the Nursing Strategic Plan results, most importantly compassion fatigue. It truely is an issue that effects each nurse over the course of her career!

    Love your email, thanks so much!
    Mary Etta Barbour

Post your comment