November 1, 2002

Nurses urged to take a break in new campaign

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A campaign urging nursing staff to “take a break” will begin next week as an effort to improve the quality of work life for nurses.

The brainchild of the Nurse Wellness Committee, the campaign is targeted at keeping nurses energized during their workday and will continue for the next several months.

“We know that many nurses are so dedicated and focused on patient care that they postpone meals, breaks and even bathroom functions,” explained Marilyn Dubree, director of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer. “While we salute the commitment, it’s best to approach each workday as a marathon rather than a sprint.”

Quality of work life for nursing staff has become an important issue in recruiting new nurses and in retention of current staff. The “take your break” campaign is directed towards reducing work life stress.

“Studies certainly show that people who take frequent breaks during the workday have increased productivity as well as reduced stress levels,” said Jim Kendall, organizational manager of the Work/Life Connections and the Nurse Wellness Program.

Pat Chenger, administrative director of Emergency Services and co-chair of the Nurse Wellness Committee, said the importance of taking breaks during the day couldn’t be stressed enough.

“The campaign reminds us as nurses that we need to tend to our needs, even if it’s just for a few minutes a day,” she said. “Doing so will allow for us to better serve our patients.”

Dan Werle, co-chair of the Nurse Wellness Committee, said it was important for nurses to know that the efforts of the committee were to improve their workday and quality of life at Vanderbilt.

“We want our efforts to make positive differences in the daily lives of our fellow nurses,” he said.