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.


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