July 24, 2014

Award recognizes wellness efforts of nursing groups

The Vanderbilt University Hospital Trauma Unit is the first recipient of the Nurse Wellness Recognition Award, an effort to recognize nursing groups who contribute to wellness in a meaningful way.

Trauma Unit staff members take a short break to strengthen their cores by doing a plank, one of the fitness challenges of the Spire program.

The Vanderbilt University Hospital Trauma Unit is the first recipient of the Nurse Wellness Recognition Award, an effort to recognize nursing groups who contribute to wellness in a meaningful way.

“We hope people will start talking more about what they’re doing in the realm of nurse wellness. We believe there are many examples of good work and innovation out there. Positive recognition is a way to spread those new ideas,” said Michele Hasselblad, MSN, R.N., administrative director of inpatient medicine and Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute, and a co-chair of the Nurse Wellness Committee, one of the “Be the Best” committees, which sponsors the award.

The Trauma Unit was recognized for their use of Spire, an online community that helps promote physical and mental well-being.

“It’s a peer motivation and feedback tool to encourage coworkers to do things that are healthy and good for you,” explained manager Teresa Hobt-Bingham, MSN, R.N.

Spire is accessible by computer or smartphone app and looks a lot like Facebook.

“We contracted a special ‘world’ for Trauma. The Neuro ICU and Peds ICU have their worlds, and then we come together for challenges,” Hobt-Bingham said.

There’s a golden Spire Cup trophy that goes to the unit that wins the challenge, and competition is fierce. Past monthly challenges have included planking, taking the stairs, doing wall sits, drinking more water and trying a new recipe.

“Then there are random challenges for other days. One was ‘celebrate the colors’ and people posted pictures of vegetables or their painted toenails at the pool,” Hobt-Bingham explained.
“It’s not all physical. There is emotional, mental and spiritual support too.”

On a nursing unit like the Trauma Unit, where compassion fatigue and burnout are common, Spire has helped the nurses focus on their health and feel more engaged with their colleagues.

“We care for challenging families who don’t always have good coping skills and take it out on our nurses, and we sometimes have violent or aggressive patients. I’m always looking for things to put a little sunshine in their day,” Hobt-Bingham said.

Nurse Rachel Owens, BSN, R.N., said there are different bands of nurses who excel at push-ups, nutrition challenges or posting photos of their outdoor activity.

“This does not separate us but instead it helps us all band together. All of these different ways we show our individuality on Spire helps us grow as one unit and bands us together so we get the mission done to serve our patients,” Owens said.

Care Partner Angie Lankford said using Spire has upped her activity level, especially with her son.

“When you post something and someone gives you points or a high five, it’s like a job well done,” Lankford said.

Hobt-Bingham now has an Institutional Review Board-approved study underway to evaluate the impact of Spire on nurse wellness.

The Trauma Unit, Neuro ICU and Pediatric ICU are serving as intervention groups, while the SICU and Pediatric Cardiac ICU are the control groups.

After using Spire, 75 percent said they received increased support and encouragement to be healthy and active, and 67 percent said that they felt closer to co-workers.

Seventy-two percent indicated that their department culture was healthier, and 65 percent said Spire had a positive impact on their emotional well-being.

Hobt-Bingham will do the post-survey Aug. 1.

The Nurse Wellness Committee hopes to give its new award twice per year.

“There is no formal application process. We’re just always hearing about good work and want to more formally recognize it,” Hasselblad said.

“We have goals to improve nurses’ physical and psychological well-being. The Trauma Unit’s project fit so well with both of those goals that we felt compelled to recognize their efforts.”

To see a video of the award presentation, go here.