Overweight Healthcare Workers

  1. Imagine a weigh in as part of your employment application… followed by a reassessment throughout the year. Could this be a reality in the future? Since hospitals stopped hiring smokers - it does bring up the question: How far could employment requirements go?

    Whilst hospital staff should be shining examples of health and happiness, the reality is, we are really just normal people; Some mothers and fathers, many of us struggling to manage long shifts combined with our other responsibilities.

    Nurses work long hours, and throughout the day must put their needs aside for their patients, making it especially hard to stay healthy. I do believe it is possible to stay healthy and fit on the job. However, it does take a tremendous amount of planning, focus and discipline.

    Some argue that patients will not accept our advice or education when they think we do not care for our own bodies as they think we should. In this situation, stick to the research and facts. Regardless of your own health issues, it does not have any effect on your patients.

    Last edit by Joe V on Oct 20, '17
  2. Visit EmpoweRN profile page

    About EmpoweRN, BSN

    Joined: Jul '16; Posts: 21; Likes: 35
    Registered Nurse - Youtube Nurse; from US
    Specialty: 8 year(s) of experience in Step Down, PCU, Telemetry, Med-Surg


  3. by   NurseOnAMotorcycle
    Another dose of body shaming.
  4. by   not.done.yet
    Not even clicking on the video. Don't care.
  5. by   NurseOnAMotorcycle
    The problem isn't the video, it's the resurrection of the old argument that opens the door for all the same old crap.
  6. by   not.done.yet
    Totally agree. The video seems just another way to try and present the same old argument and seems a bit self aggrandizing to boot, particularly since it is the OPs second post ever here. Shopping for fans I am guessing.
  7. by   SmilingBluEyes
    All that hand gesturing, sheesh.
  8. by   TheCommuter
    Two-thirds of the U.S. population falls into the overweight and obese categories, and nurses have the same struggles as the general public.

    Since only a small minority of nurses are normal weight, hospital systems and other employers that implement pre-employment weight requirements may end up with extreme difficulty attracting good candidates to work for their organizations.

    My point is that a nurse's body weight is not an accurate indication of his/her education, skills, judgment, intuition or intelligence level.
  9. by   traumaRUs
    This is a legitimate concern: (I say as I sit here eating my XXL stuft burrito). My local hospital systems test for cotitine which is the nicotine by-product - it goes back 3 months.

    They also offer discounted health insurance premiums for those that maintain a BMI under 29.

    Here is some more info:

    Support the program’s objectives in all facets of your business, e.g., healthy foods in cafeterias, vending machines, meetings and business-related events.
    Allow employees time for healthy activities. For example, extend lunch breaks for on-site health-related activities, such as fitness classes, yoga, walking clubs and cooking lessons.
    Encourage work/life balance, e.g., urge employees to take their vacation time.
  10. by   BabyFood26
    It's a touchy subject for some. However, this article and the author's tones are light-hearted, sincere and informative.

    Nothing wrong with bringing this topic up again IMO. I think it needs to be spoken of openly more often actually.

    I mean... I'm a size 14/16... Hips to spare. But I know being healthy is important. Especially for those of us with families at home. I'm open to the truth of my weight and how it may effect my health and how I might work to change that because it's a positive thing. It is anything but shameful (shaming).

    And pertaining to the patients not respecting an overweight nurse... There will always be patients that won't listen. It can go either way. If a slender nurse is giving advice to an obese patient regarding healthy living, you think he/she is gonna have their listening cap on?? Not likely... more likely, the patient will be defensive and feel as though this slimmer individual could not possibly relate. Hence, my opinion that this subject in general needs to be discussed more.

    I don't understand why people get so frazzled over the idea of taking better care of their bodies. That's really all that it is. Living a better quality of life. Leading fam/patients by example.

    Like the aforementioned comments, I do agree that an employment screening based on weight is very unlikely in the near future. There are just way too many factors that come into the mix in this light.

    Take it or leave it. But snarl at the helpful hands that are trying to feed you sustainable knowledge and insight... Well that's just self-destructive.

    Rant complete.
  11. by   NotYourMamasRN
    I like your post and video, I think it highlights the stereotypes that people often associated with healthcare personnel.
  12. by   NsugaBuga
    I must say that when it comes to smoking, it's really annoying. If a smoker can have 12 smoke breaks a shift, then so should I... to run to Burger King for fresh fries. And so if we were all smokers, how much work would get done? This occurs frequently and is not fair to the residents/clients/patients or the rest of the team.
  13. by   nursel56
    Quote from NurseOnAMotorcycle
    The problem isn't the video, it's the resurrection of the old argument that opens the door for all the same old crap.
    The same old crap that I think is a whole lot more hurtful to people who's reason why they aren't a vision of shining health and happiness is really nobody's business.

    Reading the dismayed posts on these prior threads and the judgemental responses to them was and is a major eye-opener.

    The thing is this particular unspoken mandate was never asked back in the dark ages, nor was it declared to be a requirement, tested for, or included in licensure testing. From that I conclude that even stating the issue in "should" or 'should not" terms implies that requiring periodic weight monitoring for nurses is a legitimate endeavor.

    That doesn't mean it's wrong for an employer to promote healthy lifestyle choices or offer voluntary incentives. That's a good thing, but a healthier workforce is a good thing for everyone through lower insurance costs, fewer sick calls, as many jobs involve sitting at a desk all day.

    edit to add: empowern, despite my discomfort with the issue overall as it pertains to nurses vs any other employee, or any other profession for that matter your video is engaging, well-presented, and informative as another poster mentioned.
    Last edit by nursel56 on Dec 1, '16 : Reason: add something
  14. by   NuGuyNurse2b
    This is actually already happening. At my old place of employment you have health screenings annually - BMI, BP, labs (sugars, cholesterols) - and you were given a rating. And depending on the rating, you had to do certain things - follow up with the nutritionist, doctor, etc. - throughout the year. It doesn't mean you were required to be healthy, but as an incentive (or punishment, depending on how you look at it), your insurance rate was higher or lower based on your rating. For example if you are a smoker, you naturally got a higher score on the rating scale, and your premium was higher than someone who wasn't a smoker. You can reduce your premium by doing their cessation program.