The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses publishes AACN Advanced Critical Care. Stanford University Libraries' HighWire Press® assists in the publication of ACC Online.

Current Issue : Summer 2018

From the Editor

Healthy Nurses

Whether or not you believe in and practice setting New Years' resolutions, it is not uncommon at this time of year to take stock of where you have been and where you are going - with career, with family, with life. Frequently, those evaluations take into account considerations on how to improve our personal health. Barraged every day with the newest evidence of how to be healthy, we never seem to have a shortage of ways we can improve how we live.   

The American Nurses Association (ANA) has declared a new initiative aimed at helping nurses improve their personal health—the Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation Grand Challenge.According to the ANA, nurses are less healthy than the average American; nurses are more likely to be overweight and experience higher stress levels and less likely to get adequate sleep.This can be especially true for those nurses in the acute and critical care setting, working long hours in a stressful environment where they are busy helping others through significant health and family crises. 

When family, friends, and colleagues talk to me about their struggles, I offer advice such as take personal time to de-stress, get enough sleep, consider use of complementary therapies, stay home if not feeling well, get outside, talk a walk—advice easy to offer in my "nursing mode," but not as easy to follow personally. I encourage you to consider choosing one area in which you can make even a small improvement for the coming year, such as prioritizing yourself and your personal health by getting a flu shot, making one dietary change, going to bed 30 minutes earlier every night, or learning meditation. Making even small consistent changes can improve our physical and psychological health. Through focusing on optimizing our own personal health, we can be role models for our patients, our families, and our friends as exemplify that we are committed to becoming healthier in order to be there for them. 

Mary Fran Tracy, PhD, RN, CCNS

1.  Healthy nurse, healthy nation. American Nurses Association website. 2018. Accessed January 5, 2018.
2.  Healthy nurse healthy nation: grand challenge. Nurses leading the nation's journey to better health.  American Nurses Association website. 2018. Accessed January 5, 2018.