Nurses Helping Employers Create Safe and Productive Workplaces
There is growing recognition in this country that health depends largely on what happens outside of traditional health care settings—in the places where we live, learn, work, and play. Since many adults spend most of their waking lives at work, offices and worksites present a prime opportunity for improving health. Employers are becoming key partners in this endeavor by creating a Culture of Health in the workplace to foster individual well-being, beneficial lifestyles, and healthier communities.
A shining example of the effort to build that Culture of Health is the way nurses are improving the quality of care and driving down costs with a variety of worksite-based care delivery and preventive health approaches. The Value of Nursing in Building a Culture of Health (Part 2): Helping Employers Create Safe and Productive Workplaces, the latest in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) Charting Nursing’s Future series of policy briefs, tells that tale, describing a number of nurse-designed initiatives now underway at workplaces across the nation. Their work includes:
- Evaluating and changing the workplace environment to minimize hazards;
- Implementing programs to address job and life risks in tandem and to bolster resilience among workers;
- Increasing access to evidence-based primary care through worksite clinics that provide convenient, low-cost, and efficient care;
- Rebooting workplace culture through healthy menu choices, walking meetings, and fitness activities;
- Redesigning benefits to reward prevention and wellness;
- Measuring the impact of various workplace health initiatives; and
- Building the business case for investing in the health of communities at large.
The brief spotlights the work of occupational health nurses and AAOHN, describing initiatives ranging from worksite-based clinics to nurse-led research on occupational health hazards; nurse-led care, education, research, and advocacy on farming-related occupational illnesses; patient confidentiality concerns; and more.
“From an employer’s perspective, it’s just good business to keep workers healthy and on the job, and to deploy nurses to advance those goals,” says Maryjoan Ladden, PhD, RN, FAAN, RWJF senior program officer, and executive editor of Charting Nursing’s Future. “Nurses bring a professional perspective and clinical expertise that makes them well-qualified to lead such initiatives, and employers and employees are turning to them with increasing frequency.”