By Melinda Juneau,
The average healthcare employee will spend anywhere from 8-11+ hours at their workplace on a daily basis.  What are you doing to facilitate a healthy life for them while they are at work?  Do you have a wellness plan implemented?  Taking the time to care about your staffs’ health and well-being can go a long way for the efficiency and high level of care you provide.  It can cut down on absenteeism, improve morale, and even promote less tension between the staff.

According to the CDC Prevention Publication of April 2012, it is estimated that as much as 75% of total U.S. health care spending is for people with chronic conditions.  It goes on to identify the four modifiable health risks that are responsible for much of this chronic disease burden: tobacco use, poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, and excessive alcohol consumption.

If your facility has a wellness program in place, when was the last time you took an inventory to see who is using it? When was the last time you heard any type of employee feedback regarding the programs?  It can take time to benefit from the results of a wellness program so if yours just began, it is crucial to stay committed to the process.

Use this simple guide as a way to take a quick inventory of your program. If you are meeting these needs, the program is headed in the right direction. If not, consider various ways to implement changes so it becomes a tangible benefit rather than just a proposed plan.

Are the programs being used? 

If you have a wellness program that gives employees a fitness center discount or reimbursement, find out who is taking advantage of this.  Do you offer fruit, bottled water, and healthy snacks during the work shifts; are they being consumed?  Do you have a company sports team or department sporting events; is anyone attending?  Go through your list of perks and then obtain actual numbers of those participating. If one is higher than another, consider expanding it.

What does your staff like about working at your facility?

Employees talk. They will murmur among themselves about the good and the bad. Try to notice their topics or just come right out and ask.  When you encourage healthy habits, you will see happier employees.  They tend to show up to work on time, have a higher energy level, sharper mental capabilities, and can even be more emotionally stable.

Is anyone being singled out in a negative way for their health issue? 

You want to help your staff but be cautious to avoid making people feel less than capable, because they are struggling with a health problem. The wellness program should feel encouraging and helpful, not degrading or discouraging.

Are you providing the resources necessary for employees in the healthcare industry to work in a healthy atmosphere?

Your staff wants to feel safe and valued when they come to work. Some healthcare workers struggle with mental health due to the highly charged, emotional days they endure.  They may benefit from a workshop teaching them how to deal with high stress or you may want to have a wall display, outlining simple steps to reduce the stress.  You can provide ways to keep them physically healthy such as a discount on comfortable shoes, healthy snacks, hand washing stations with high quality soaps, and even on-site vaccinations to help them avoid the flu.

Your staff works hard on a daily basis to keep others healthy. Isn’t their personal health and well-being just as important?

Visit us at Snelling Medical to learn more about improving your facility and creating a positive atmosphere where people choose to work and thrive:

NOTE:  A full-color, downloadable PDF is available.