A recent study of hospital workers in the greater Houston area found that more than 70 percent of hospital workers are overweight, if not downright obese. Have you ever stopped to consider what kind of message we are sending out to our patients? Amazingly, doctors did not fall into this questionable category which was comprised largely of nurses, nurses’ aides, and housekeeping or kitchen staff.
As a hospital administrator who worked very hard to get that online masters in health administration while working in the field, you know that nurses and aides are the only people patients generally see. The doctor will wander in for a few moments each morning, look over the chart, do a quick check and run to the next room. Everyone else on the floor, however, will interact with patients at all hours of the day and night.
Why the Task Falls to Administration
As a hospital administrator, you are on the frontlines of shaping the future of healthcare in this country. There is already a great deal of controversy over the quality and cost associated with healthcare, so why give consumers something else to talk about? Do you really think they don’t notice the fact that a great percentage of your staff is overweight and ‘guilty’ of the same issues you are advising your patients against? To quote the old proverb, “Physician, heal thyself.” However, in this instance it isn’t the physician but rather everyone else on staff!
Perhaps you should consider offering fitness classes for your employees. Wouldn’t that send a positive message on healthcare to those patients you are charged with caring for? After all, most major hospitals now offer fitness and rehab programs for patients, so why not open them up to employees? Not only would you be sending a positive message to the patients you treat, but you could very well be extending the life of your staff while ensuring a better quality of life for them as well.
Make Your Alma Mater Proud
If there is anything which can be said about California, it would be that this is one health conscious state! As the largest state in the union, you would think that being a role model for the rest of the country would be vitally important. Those who studied for an online EMHA degree from illustrious educational institutions like the University of Southern California can make their alma mater proud by breaking ground in offering fitness classes for staff members.
Lead by Example
Here is where you should take a realistic look at yourself and your own state of fitness. If you want to encourage your staff to work towards a healthier weight and level of fitness, shouldn’t you be leading by example? Are you overweight? Do you get the right amount of exercise weekly to strengthen your heart and keep your body in tip-top shape? No one is suggesting that you take bodybuilding classes, yet a bi-weekly aerobics class is just what the doctor ordered.
How can you, in good conscience, be serving low-fat, low-carb and in many cases tasteless ‘healthy’ foods to your patients while glutting out yourself? Step back for just a moment and look at how your patients view your hospital. While you can’t discriminate against hiring obese employees, you surely can offer them the opportunity to shed a few pounds and build a healthier lifestyle. That, now, is what we’d call a great hospital administrator.