Category: Healthy Habits at Work

Working Nights? Here’s to Better Days.

By GeTonya Dickerson, RN, BSN, CMSRN, telemetry
Methodist Mansfield Medical Center

Long before the days of “24/7,” hospital clinicians have been working ’round the clock to care for the patients’ needs of the communities they serve.

There are many benefits of working nights, but working irregular hours can take its toll on family life. Here are some tips to keep up with kids, family members, and personal

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Get your zzzzs. The first step is to make sure you’re not only getting plenty of sleep, but also planning for uninterrupted time that is dedicated to sleep. Wind down after you get off work, then plan a set time to go to bed. Install blackout curtains, turn off phones, and put aside things that can be done when you wake up.

Stay healthy. In addition to adequate rest, be sure to eat right and exercise. Shift employees often have to fight extra pounds, and that has its own health consequences. Plan to take healthy snacks and brown bag meals to work instead of heading to the vending machines. Try not to eat three or four hours before your bedtime since your metabolism slows down while you sleep. Schedule time to exercise, either at home or at a gym. Just 30 minutes a day of some kind of exercise provides health benefits.

Stay connected with technology. Use email, Facebook, and webcams to leave messages for family members, say “happy birthday,” or send the latest updates. With kids, I know parents who send text messages to say “goodnight” or provide words of encouragement before a big test. When you need to talk to someone in person, let him/her know the best times and ways to reach you when you’re not sleeping.

Be there for your kids. Working overnight or irregular shifts can be a real benefit if you have kids. Plan your sleep so you can have lunch at school on occasion. If a parent-teacher conference is scheduled for the evening, teachers can often reschedule a meeting during the day. Most importantly, after you’ve had a day of rest, you’re there when the kids get home and can help with homework or other assignments before you go to work.

Think outside the box. While you may not be able to have “date night” as often with your spouse or significant other, think about a special lunch or afternoon movie. Think creatively and plan special outings that work with your schedule or when you have a night off. Look for things to do that

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aren’t available at night, like trips to bloom festivals, or museums. Even shopping’s better when most people are at work or school. Take advantage of the flexibility you have, and you’ll find meaningful work/life balance and still get to enjoy family, friends, and special events.

At Methodist Health System, we have a 24/7 commitment to employees, no matter when they work. To see why Methodist is a brilliant choice for your career, day or night, visit us at


© Methodist Health System

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Wellness: More Important Today Than Ever

By Melanie Algermissen, Assistant Vice President of Wellness, Methodist Health System

As a health care professional, you take care of patients all day (and sometimes all night), but who’s taking care of you? Methodist Health System’s Live Well, Shine Bright employee wellness program does just that, enabling employees to establish individual health goals and to incorporate healthier habits into their lives.

Keep your body in tune. Our bodies are designed to operate efficiently, like well-oiled machines. Healthy behaviors fuel those machines, but over the course of time, our society has become more sedentary. A typical day for most Americans includes sitting in traffic to get to work, grabbing fast-food meals, sitting at a computer, and then sitting in the car again to go home. At the end of the day, we watch television, catch up on Facebook, or surf the Internet. Even hospital employees, who historically have been on their feet all day, use technology that makes the job easier — and less physically active — than ever before.

It’s a never-ending cycle that contributes to increasing chronic diseases. In Dallas, for example, 30 percent are obese, and 25 percent are physically inactive. Nationally, almost 26 million have diabetes and seven million don’t know it. Chronic conditions are plaguing America, many of which are preventable through healthy behaviors. That’s why wellness is more important than ever.

Put Some Spark in Your Step. Wellness in the workplace is the ideal time to educate employees and help create health habits that may add more years to their lives, but more important, add more life to their years. Here’s my personal philosophy for the Live Well, Shine Bright program:

  • Move more
  • Eat better
  • Manage weight and stress
  • Stop using tobacco
  • Create a support network

Practice makes perfect. At Methodist, our objective is to help employees achieve their health goals. We offer annual biometric screenings and an online health assessment to help our employees understand their health profile and determine their risk for chronic disease. We are about to launch a program that provides our employees with an onsite health coach who can empower them to take charge of their health by creating a personal health improvement plan. This summer, we’re rolling out a Wellness Institute that will house ongoing health education programs. In addition to instituting a culture of wellness that we live and breathe every day, we encourage employees to develop a support network both at home and at work that will motivate them to achieve their goals.  As the saying goes, it’s a marathon, not a sprint – and we want to be with our employees every step of the way to ensure their success in leading a healthy lifestyle.

The benefits? Healthier individuals, more quality time with families and friends, fewer chronic health conditions, and ultimately, better care for patients and their families.

At Methodist Health System, we want our employees to live well and shine bright in all areas of their lives. To let your light shine, visit us at


© Methodist Health System

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