Nurses: put your health 1st

Australian College of Nursing

Friday, 31 August, 2018

Nurses: put your health 1st

Who takes care of the people taking care of us? Nurses have a tendency to look after everyone but themselves.

With this in mind, the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) has just launched the NurseStrong Campaign — designed to support the nation’s nurses to take time each day to focus on their own health and wellbeing.

“Nurses are there for all Australians when we are most in need. Nurses provide care to all communities in every setting, every day,” Australian College of Nursing CEO Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN said.

“Australians admire, respect and appreciate all that nurses do for them. Yet, as nurses we do not always give taking care of ourselves the same priority as taking care of others.”

Research shows that nurses have lower levels of physical activity than average and many have lifestyle health behaviours that place them at high risk for developing non-communicable diseases.1

Non-communicable diseases are non-contagious diseases that lifestyle factors can contribute to such as diabetes, hypertension and even cancer.

“Non-communicable diseases are now the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in Australia,” Adjunct Professor Ward explained. “With nurses giving so much of themselves, ACN felt it was time to give back to our selfless nurses in a meaningful way.”

The NurseStrong Campaign will see 1000 nurses complete a free 12-week exercise and healthy eating program run by personal trainer Lauren Hannaford of FHIT by Lauren Hannaford.

“I will be completing the program and encourage nurses from around the country to join with me,” Adjunct Professor Ward enthused. “The program is designed so nurses can take part anywhere and anytime of the day. With many nurses working shifts and long hours, this was a very important consideration.”

“For some the benefits of this program will include weight loss, for others stress reduction, for others improved mental or physical health. The impact of leading a healthier lifestyle can be immense; for example, bringing our blood pressure down can significantly reduce the chance of stroke or heart attack.

“There are also savings for the Australian economy if we can reduce the burden of disease caused by non-communicable diseases.

“We are very excited to be launching NurseStrong and to have Lauren partnering with us to care for Australia’s nurses.

“We will be asking nurses to keep us informed about their experience and we hope that at the end of the program they will make healthy lifestyle choices an everyday part of their life.”

Registrations for the NurseStrong Campaign are now open. The 12-week exercise and healthy eating program will kick off on 1 October 2018.

“Our goal is to get as many nurses as possible participating and making positive changes to their activity and diet, and we would love other members of the health sector to join in with us. The 1000 free registrations have already been filled, which shows how motivated the nursing profession is to make healthy changes, but others can still sign up and take part for just a small weekly fee.”


1. Perry, L., Xu, X., Gallagher, R., Nicholls, R., Sibbritt, D., & Duffield, C. (2018). Lifestyle Health Behaviors of Nurses and Midwives: The ‘Fit for the Future’ Study. International journal of environmental research and public health,15(5), 945

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