Keeping Nursing Faculty Healthy
Strobach, Cynthia D.
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Session presented on Monday, July 25, 2016: Purpose: We are currently experiencing a worldwide shortage of nurses. Nurses are at the front line of most health care systems. A shortage of nurses will have a negative impact on the health of citizens across the globe. At a time when we need more nurses than ever, we are experiencing a nursing faculty shortage. Education of new nurses is an issue in both developed and developing countries. It is important, therefore, to keep nursing faculty healthy and teaching for as long as possible. The purpose of the study was to investigate the lived experience of nursing faculty who have access to employee wellness programs. The study explored whether nursing faculty participate in employee wellness programs, examine their reasons for participation or lack of participation, and investigate factors that might motivate them to increase their participation in such programs. Methods: The study was conducted using a phenomenological approach with purposive sampling. Azjen's Theory of Planned Behavior and Pender's Health Belief Model were used as key theoretical foundations. Semi structured interviews with 13 nursing faculty from 2 nursing education programs were completed. All faculty participants were from Alaska and taught in rural and urban areas. Moustakas' thematic analytic approach was used to analyze the data. Results: Six composite themes were identified: Wellness activities, benefits, personal relevance, modeling, outside influences, and types of experiences. Results indicated that nursing faculty believe employee wellness programs are beneficial, but want them to be personally relevant. Nursing faculty valued socialization as an important benefit. Outside influences, such as job demands and convenience, impacted nursing faculty participation in employee wellness programs. Conclusion: Social change can be affected through the improvement of nursing faculty wellness. Having healthier nursing faculty will allow them to stay active in the academic workforce longer. Given the nursing faculty shortage, it is important to keep as many nursing faculty as possible. Making the programs convenient and meaningful for nursing faculty may increase their participation. Faculty wellness program participation also gives nursing faculty the opportunity to model healthy behaviors for nursing students and other faculty and staff on campus. If nursing students have good role models for health, they may work to improve their own health. Having healthy nurses who stay in the workforce is important for reducing the nursing shortage. Furthermore, healthy nurses can be good role models for those they serve, leading to improved health for patients.