Nurse Health: Healthy Behaviors and Practices for Nurses

by | Nov 1, 2013 | 12 comments

WOW. Just when I thought that all of my self-care efforts, talk, and passion was falling on dead ears- this group of nurse bloggers TOTALLY lifted my spirits!

You see, as a nurse coach who’s focused on health and wellness, I do a LOT in the way of nurses’ well-being. Writing posts on blogs like this and others; giving talks both in-person and online; and sharing tools, tips, and resources about self-care for the busy nurse is how I love to spend my time.

But lately- I had been questioning my entire process. “Where are the nurses? Does anyone care about taking care of themselves? How come we (the nursing profession) don’t value our health?” I guess you could say I was getting a bit frustrated.

However, this project and AWESOME group of nurse writers has totally re-energized me, lifted my spirits, and reminded me of why I am so passionate about nurse health.

So without further adieu, I give you… the healthy behaviors and practices for nurses!

Two posts reminded me of the where and why we may lack self-care. Erica, who’s also known as the Self Employed Nurse, points out in her post How Nurses Can Develop Healthy Habits that sometimes we’re just not ready to change. She then shares three secrets to how journaling our goals can move us forward through success.

The other is written by my friend and colleague, Keith. He too, as a nurse coach, has shared with me his thoughts, frustrations, and challenges with getting nurses healthy. I love his article on Digital Doorway, Healthy Nurses and the Self-Care Bandwagon, that articulates it’s not just us (nurses) who see ourselves as unhealthy! Others in society do too. And then Keith lovingly challenges us all to get on the self-care train!

Not sure how to jump aboard? Here’s some practical tools to get you going:

  • Starting with our feet. Yes, being a nurse, many of us know what it’s like to be on our feet ALL day long… Jennifer over at RNEvolution gives you 5 awesome ways to love up your feet some more in Healthy Behaviors for RNs Start at the Bottom: Care for Your Feet. She even gives us permission to go out there and treat ourselves to a pedicure! Awesome!!
  • Another one for the body? Brittney, who’s also known as the Nerdy Nurse, shares a guest blog post (written by yours truly, thank you Brittney!) on how Exercise and Activity Energizes the Busy Nurse. There are two easy and quick tips that you can do without any extra effort!
  • Which takes us over to a really neat video from Caroline with EmpoweRN. While exercise is one way to boost your energy level, her video Be an Energetic Nurse and Nursing Student highlights some healthy treats you can pack with you and bring on-the-go for a quick and healthy lunch! You gotta love how she shows us the actual foods in the video!
  • And what better way to balance out all of this movement and energy than with some secrets to proper rest? Joyce points out 10 Tips to Catch Better ZZZ’s as a Night Shift Nurse. Now I know the title says ‘Night Shift’, but if you’re a busy nurse like me- any ideas to get better rest are well-received!

OK, so we’ve touched on the physical body- but being that I am a holistic nurse- I was thrilled to receive some guest articles about the mental, emotional, and even spiritual aspects of well-being.

  • Jerome, over at Minding the Bedside, articulates the importance of why every nurse needs to meditate. In his post, Nurses Need to Meditate! Eight Reasons Why and How to Do It, gives simple yet powerful examples for how this practice can impact our own practice!
  • I LOVED how Kathy gently nudged us all to be loving to ourselves. In her post, Nurses Be Kind to Yourself, she points out how organization, prioritization, and reward are all significant factors that play a role in well-being.
  •  Finally, one of my favorite’s, Lorie from Empowered Nurses reminds us It’s OK to Say No. What I enjoyed the most? Real-life examples of sobering cases where saying ‘Yes’ when it should have been ‘No’ cost the nurse a job.

WOW. And if you still don’t have an idea and none of these awesome tips resonated with you- I’ve got two more! The final two posts really sum up the mind-body-spirit connection of putting self-care first for total well-being.

Scrubs Magazine gifts us with Realistic Ways for Nurses to Keep their Health, highlighting that staying healthy is much simpler than we make it! wraps it all up in A Nurse’s Health: the Gift that Keeps on Giving. Thank you Brittney, for reminding us that the reason we ought to be taking care of ourselves is simple: so we can take the best care of others.

Phew! Now how about THAT for a huge wake up call!?! I am totally recharged and ready! I see there are many, many nurses out there who think, feel, and believe that our own health is priority. Thank you for all of the nurse bloggers, sharing your wisdom, expertise, and joy with us. Readers, let’s here a comment below!

(This post is a collective effort of nurse bloggers as part of the Scrubs Mag Blog Carnival. If you are interested in participating find out more details and sign up here.)


  1. Toni Gilbert

    Hey, you all rock! Keep on going….

    • Elizabeth Scala

      Thanks Toni!

  2. Caroline

    This is a great article!!
    Love all of the advice!
    Thank you!!

    • Elizabeth Scala

      Glad you enjoyed this Caroline! Thanks for being a part of the team!

  3. Brittney @ The Nerdy Nurse


    You’ve done an excellent job here and I am thrilled to see all the submissions! it looks like we really do “get” that we have to be taking care ourselves. How awesome to have all these resources in a single location!

    • Elizabeth Scala

      Thank you, Brittney. I appreciate you stopping by and sharing your feedback. And for submitting some excellent posts to the group!! YES, You are so correct and I am glad to realize it now too. We sure do see that taking care of ourselves IS important. Now let’s create the environment that allows us to do so. Have an awesome weekend,

  4. Erica MacDonald

    Thanks for putting in all the work on this one! I think most nurses will come around to worrying about their health. Like me they need a nudge in the right direction! It really is a matter of making the decision to do so. Elizabeth, that is where where you come in… us the nudge we need.

  5. Elizabeth Scala

    Thank you for contributing to this post! You are right. As nurses, we know that health IS important. We just need to come around to putting in the time, effort, and energy it takes to enjoy this. Thank you for reminding me that this ‘nudge’ is where I can come in. Great analogy which I will reflect on. Have a wonderful day,

  6. Joyce Harrell

    You did a great job on this timely article! Our nurturing nature is so easy to apply to everyone except ourselves. But I found out the hard way what happens when you don’t nurture yourself! Balance is also key. I’m working now to balance out the nurturing of my body.

  7. Elizabeth Scala

    Thanks Joyce, I am glad you enjoyed the article- both contributing to it and reading as well! Enjoy your health today, Elizabeth

  8. Yoga Nurse

    AWEsome blog role and valuable info!

    • Elizabeth Scala

      Thanks Annette!!!


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