September 28, 2007

Conference explores nurse wellness issues

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Greg Pinnington of Diligent tries out the Maxi Move patient lifting system on Susan Hernandez at the conference Friday. (photo by Dana Johnson)

Conference explores nurse wellness issues

More than 90 participants from 22 states attended the Blueprint for Nurse Wellness Conference last week hosted by Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The conference included three days of lectures and exhibits covering topics ranging from nurse workforce issues to caring for the caregiver.

“Nurse wellness” is a relatively new movement in nursing that reflects the growing need to institute new programs and open lines of communication that keep nurses energized about their work.

“It's not only the right thing to do, but it's a good business decision for hospitals to take care of the nurses they have,” said Ann Cross, M.S., M.B.A., R.N., chief executive officer of Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital. “We have a wonderful wellness climate at Vanderbilt, and because of that we were able to showcase some of our initiatives such as the Smooth Moves patient handling system which has significantly decreased on-the-job injuries.”

Hospital systems are increasingly interested in nurse wellness programs as a retention tool, especially during a time when nursing demand exceeds supply in many areas.

“The goal of this conference was to educate decision makers from around the country, so they can go back to their home institutions, make the case for why nurse wellness matters and start growing their own programs to address the issue,” said Susan Hernandez, M.B.A., R.N., administrative director for Critical Care Services at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.