Effects of the Nurse Athlete Program on the Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors, Physical Health, and Mental Well-being of New Graduate Nurses

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Abstract

Recognizing that transition from nursing student to point-of-care nurse can be a stressful time period in one's career. A pilot study at a large Midwestern medical center tested the preliminary effects of a health-oriented workshop, the Nurse Athlete, on new graduate nurses' healthy lifestyle beliefs, healthy lifestyle behaviors, depressive and anxiety symptoms, as well as health outcomes. The Nurse Athlete workshop, provided in partnership with Johnson & Johnson's Human Performance Institute (HPI), used materials from HPI's Corporate Athlete program. The 2-day workshop focuses on energy management through a comprehensive examination of goals and values in relation to one's spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical development and provides practical strategies to improve self-care. Eighty-eight new graduate nurses hired at the university's medical center were offered the opportunity to participate in the Nurse Athlete program and associated study. Sixty-nine percent of these new graduate nurses (n = 61) consented and participated in the program. There was a statistically significant decrease in the participants' weight and body mass index from baseline to the 6-month follow-up assessment, which resulted in small to medium positive effects for the Nurse Athlete program. There was also a significant decrease in body fat percentage across time, resulting in a large positive intervention effect. Statistically significant reductions in depressive symptoms were measured between baseline and 6 months.

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