The health of nurses : their subjective well-being, lifestyle/preventive practices and goals for health

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Hoskin, Pauline Loretta Arnott
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education
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Lethbridge, Alta : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education, 1987
Although promotion of health and healthy lifestyles are accepted tasks of registered nurses, the assessment of nurses' own health and health behaviours has rarely been assessed. In this study questionnaire responses from 59 female registered nurses and interviews with ten nurses employed full-time in south-west Alberta were analyzed. The questionnaire consisted of items taken and adapted from the Canada Health Survey (Health & Welfare Canada, 1981) on subjective well-being (Affect Balance Scale and Health Opinion Survey) and certain lifestyle practices (pap test, breast examination, alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking and seat belt use). A question on leisure time physical activity was take from Godin, Jobin and Bouillon (1986). Questions assessing self-reported immune status and perception of self as a health role model for others were designed by the researcher. Data from the questionnaires were described in narrative, frequency counts and percentages. Comparisons were made among responses in various parts of the questionnaire as well as with the results of the Canada Health Survey. Interview questions designed by the researcher assessed the ways in which the nurse participants thought about health and their goals for health; transcribed interview responses were categorized according to themes; further interpretation was done on three main themes (maintenance of health as a goal, perceived lack of nurses' self-care and nurses' expectations of themselves). The nurses' scores on the Affect Balance Scale and the Health Opinion Survey place them toward the positive end of a positive-negative continuum of subjective well-being (Okun, Stock, Haring & Witter, 1984). Comparison of the participants' responses regarding lifestyle and preventive practices with the Canada Health Survey suggests that these nurses had relatively adequate health practices with the possible exception of participation in vigorous physical activity. A majority of the participants perceived themselves as role models of health, particularly non-smokers and those with post-RN education. The ten interviewed nurses generally gave maintenance of health as their primary present and future goal for health. Lack of self-care was associated by participants with nurses' and women's traditional concern for others before themselves. The participants seemed to have generally high expectations for themselves and other nurses. This descriptive and exploratory study may provide a baseline for future study of nurses' health, an indication of areas for health promotion programs for nurses and a discussion point for nurses to continue to assess their own health and the factors affecting their own health and goals for health.
x, 149 p. ; 28 cm
Nurses -- Health and hygiene , Dissertations, Academic