Workplace wellness is big business. Nurses have opportunities to facilitate the implementation of programs in their own work environments. Employment opportunities also exist for nurses in the employee wellness arena.
Workplace wellness programs are becoming increasingly common. Their appearance and scope varies. While employers with large numbers of employees often offer comprehensive programs, at least one third of small companies offer wellness programs too.
Employers are implementing wellness programs for several reasons. They save employers significant dollars in health care costs. Insurance premiums are lower. The savings can be passed onto the employees. Absenteeism is less. The rate of work related injuries decreases. Morale improves. Employee retention rates improve. Decreased turnover results in a better functioning workplace with improved morale.
So what does this mean for nurses?
Nurses who are seeking employment may want to consider asking potential employers about wellness benefits the employer offers. Sometimes gym memberships are included. Employers may offer healthy choices in their cafeterias. Smoking cessation and weight loss programs may be offered as well. Often, when employees leave places of employment which have wellness programs, they state that the wellness programs are what they will miss most.
Insurance companies may have their own wellness programs or partner wiht wellness brokers to provide assistance to companies implementing wellness plans. Nurses are utilized by these companies as resources. Many offer nurse “help lines” where members can call in to seek medical advice. Experienced nurses may enjoy this type of employment.
Nurses may conduct workplace wellness fairs, run by employers. Health information is provided. Simple blood tests and immunizations may be provided by nurses as well.
Nurses and other health educators work with companies to conduct and evaluate employee surveys regarding wellness. Conducting surveys is one of the first steps that employers need to do before implementing a wellness program. Nurses may be employed to write the surveys or to calculate the findings. Nurses evaluate effectiveness of programs and ensure that they are kept current.
Nurses serve as consultants to businesses, recommending policies regarding employee health, assisting with procurement of wellness equipment, and linking employers to free resources in the community.
Workplace wellness is here to stay. It is expected to expand significantly as the cost of healthcare to employers and employees is rising rapidly.
Employer health costs are higher now for many reasons. Chronic illnesses are on the rise. Chronic illnesses are costly. Most adults spend a significant amount of time in the workplace, so that is where many health education and prevention programs are occurring.
Some nurses choose to become health coaches. Health coaches are increasingly being hired by employers promoting wellness.
Nurses need to be aware of workplace wellness so that they can help shape programs within their own work environments. Comparing benefits of wellness programs when seeking employment is essential. In addition, workplace wellness awareness creates employment opportunities for nurses as well.