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A Mindful Approach to Change

Posted By Sabrina Walesek, Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2019

A Mindful Approach to Change

Some people are steady-as-they-go types. I’m prone to trying new things. And the power of making my own choices somehow made it all feel less risky—until the day it didn’t.

Twice, my husband and I left our jobs and home to spend a year traversing the globe. In 2010, we moved to Colombia and ended up spending four amazing years there. And when we returned to the States, I jumped right back into the flow, working on a creative project with awesome people. Life was good!

Then, that company suddenly closed shop. 

I decided to pursue a personal passion instead. I tried several strategies to gain entry into my desired industry, but I was met with obstacles each time. My previously sure-footed faith failed me. Life didn’t flow; it wobbled. I became tentative, questioning every decision I made. 

According to the Cleveland Clinic experiencing big changes or too many within a brief time period can create a perception that we are not in control of important events. This perception contributes to low self-esteem and even the development of anxiety or depression.

When a single change throws us off kilter, it often doesn’t take us long to regain “control.” But when we’re knocked off our foundation, it takes patience and self-compassion to truly right ourselves. 

Balance can be restored. Here are the steps I took.

 

Changing Thoughts Changes Reality

First, I paid attention to my thoughts and words. Yep, I was brooding on my “failed” career pivot and being really hard on myself. There is a saying, “Where attention goes, energy flows.” I was succumbing to negativity and dismissing the greatness in my life. 

I noticed one word in particular was warping my reality: “should.” The negative power of that word was subversively affecting my sense of self:

  • I should be making more money (I’m a loser). 
  • I should have a larger network (I’m unimportant). 
  • I should be more dedicated (I’m lazy).
  • I should be more skilled (I’m irrelevant).
  • I should stick to what I know (I’m foolish).

According to Psychology Today, the word “should” undermines our ability to do what we want to do and causes a host of negative feelings: blame, guilt, anxiety, stress. 

  • Using “should” with ourselves is disempowering. 
  • Using “should” toward others provokes anger and resentment. 

Once I realized all this, I vowed to stop using the word “should” — which was harder than I thought. It’s surprising how often “should” is used in conversation. 

To break this “bad” habit, I started replacing “should” with “could” or “want to.” For example, “I should network more” feels obligatory. If I don’t, I fail. (Plus, it goads me into rebellion.) Changing to, “I could network more” means it’s my choice. This small adjustment helped me realize I was in control of much of my daily experience. 

Notice how often you use “should.” What reaction does it conjure? Would it feel different if you tried “could” or “want to” instead?

 

Get Curious

Another strategy was to stop taking things personally and instead get curious. Instead of jumping to conclusions, I took the time to sit with my life’s roadblocks to gain perspective. I got quiet, took deep breaths, and asked myself: “What if this struggle is critical to my journey and my personal growth?” 

To be less judgmental and more curious, I contemplate these questions:

  • What would my compassionate self say to my critical self? 
  • Could any positives develop from this experience?
  • How does the struggle make me a better person?

Struggles are essential. They provide us with new perspective. Often, that “wrong turn” steers us to new and positive possibilities. Obstacles remind us to let go of the urge to control everything.

The next time you find yourself in a tug-o-war with life, stop and consider the underlying gift. Be kind to yourself and see if you can identify the value the experience may bring, even if it’s simply how to avoid something similar in the future.

 

Six Dimensions of Wellness

Six Dimensions of WellnessLastly, instead of obsessing on my profession pathos, my course reset involved taking on a well-rounded approach to assessing my life. I selected The Six Dimensions of Wellness, developed by Dr. Bill Hettler of the National Wellness Institute. The six dimensions of life examined in this tool are:

  • Occupational
  • Physical
  • Social
  • Intellectual
  • Spiritual
  • Emotional

In my assessment, I acknowledged the positives I experience in each area. Turns out, I am flourishing in many dimensions of life. Who knew?

Discovering this has helped me build energy and motivation to take on the areas of my life that score lower. It helped me see how I can weave my passion into the different dimensions of wellness. I realized I could enjoy life until the universe is ready to open the right door for me, which it did about a week after I “let go.” Out of the blue, a paid opportunity came to me with more ease than I could have imagined.

When we dwell on negativity, everything in and around us is impacted. By looking for the positives, we embody more balance and strength. We are able to see how rich and multi-dimensional our lives are. Seeing these bountiful parts helps to offset the struggling parts. 

Review the six dimensions and list all the positives that make up your reality. Embrace the abundance. If you feel there is an area that could use a boost to keep life more balanced, explore steps you “could” take to fill in gaps. 

 

Find Your Flow

Through awareness, mindful speech (to ourselves and others), contemplation, and self-compassion, we can steady ourselves when the unexpected hits. The “bad” stuff will always still happen — but when we get clear, curious, and positive, we keep on flowing. 


Sabrina WalesekSabrina Walasek is a long-time educator and lover of exploration and learning. She has traveled to more than 50 countries, embracing humanity and nurturing her sense of curiosity. She facilitates a monthly mindful women's circle and is a contributor to Whole Life Challenge's blog. Her website is www.mindfulspaces.org


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Wellbeing in the Hospitality Sector

Posted By Pam Loch, Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The hospitality sector is the fifth largest employer in the UK

Following the Brexit vote, it is reported that some 330 000 of non-British workers are considering leaving the UK, with many having already made the move back home. While the impact of these staff shortages on the NHS has been well documented, the changing recruitment landscape is set to negatively affect a number of businesses in Britain, particularly within the hospitality industry. HR managers are having to adapt to these changing demographics, and are starting to place greater emphasis on wellbeing initiatives in order to prevent staff turnover over the coming years. 

 

The recruitment challenges faced by the hospitality sector

The hospitality sector is the fifth largest employer in the UK, employing approximately 4.5 million people. However, maintaining this status may not be easy, especially in the next year. In 2017 just over half of the industry’s workers (53%) were British. With the staff shortages anticipated due to Brexit, this statistic is concerning when you consider that the hospitality sector is anticipated to need to recruit 1.3 million workers by 2024. 

Both staff retention and recruitment are just some of the challenges facing the hospitality sector over the coming years, and for an industry that has historically relied upon non-British workers for its success, it is not surprising that 1 in 5 managers have reported a higher level of difficulty in recruiting staff in the last 12 months. In fact, 16% of businesses do not believe that they will fulfill staffing requirements with British workers by next year.

While the statistics paint a relatively bleak picture, there are proactive steps that HR managers and employers can take in order to retain and attract talent. HR policies and strategies that take into account a variety of wellbeing initiatives have been shown to not only have a positive impact on the health and happiness of employees, but also a correlation on the quality of service that hotels and restaurants provide to their customers.

 

Mental health in the hospitality sector

It is reported that 70% of British hospitality workers feel overworked, and 45% will take time off due to stress at some point in their career. With a persistent narrative surrounding stress and stress-related illnesses that it’s all “part of the job," it can become difficult to change the stigma surrounding mental health struggles brought on by working conditions - particularly when workers simply learn to live with issues such as:

Fatigue: There are a number of causes for fatigue, particularly in businesses where night work is often mandatory, such as hotels. It is widely known that when circadian rhythms are interrupted, sleep during the day becomes extremely difficult. 

Furthermore, even in circumstances where night work is not required, long days and physical labour are a feature of many hospitality sectors, which only increases fatigue when adequate rest isn’t given.  

Anxiety: In an industry in which pay is often hourly, the fear of financial repercussions from injuries and sick leave can lead to increased levels of stress and anxiety. 

Additionally, the daily expectation of potentially dealing with customers who may conduct themselves with rudeness or arrogance can also be a contributing factor to stress for a number of employees.

Depression: A recent study by the Centre for Psychological Research at the University of Derby, suggests that depression amongst hospitality workers can be influenced by a lack of motivation in the workplace, or what they refer to as ‘external motivation.' 

In other words, the motivation to work comes not from personal or ‘internal’ interest in the task, but external influences such as “I need to earn money”. This disconnect can not only impact the mental wellbeing of staff, but can also contribute to decreased productivity, absenteeism and high employee turnover. 

 

Effective communication is often the first step

Tackling the complexities of mental health undoubtedly requires effective communication between both employer and employee. However a recent study revealed that 44% of UK hospitality workers would not come to a colleague if they felt they had a mental health problem, and in the case of absenteeism, 38% of workers were afraid to tell their boss that stress and/or mental health was their reason for time taken off work. 

Perhaps more surprising is that 90% of hospitality workers believe that being prone to stress and anxiety would affect or hinder their career progression, and 40% believed it was their personal responsibility to deal with any work-related stress or mental health problems. In the most extreme cases, staff members who came forward with serious mental health complaints have, at times, been met with the insinuation that they should resign for the good of the company. 

While society, the media and organizations have done much to tackle the stigma of mental health, there are still concerns that by being open about the challenges we all face from time to time, there is still the possibility that it can seriously impact our career and long term financial security.

Creating an environment in which communication between management and staff is actively encouraged is therefore vital for a healthy workplace. Motivating staff to come forward in a secure environment where they feel comfortable to express their views, requests and grievances creates an environment in which workers feel valued, and are better equipped to perform their roles. 

 

The link between physical and mental health

Hospitality is often linked with physical work, including walking long distances, running and carrying in all sorts of conditions. Although the nature of this sort of work cannot be changed, it is important to ensure your staff are physically healthy. For example:

  • Frequent wellness checks not only provide employees with an insight into their own health,  but allows employers to take proactive steps in order to minimize the risk of absences from work through ill-health.
  • Try to ensure that staff take adequate breaks at the appropriate times, and finding cover for the remaining staff, even during peak times.
  • If you provide free meals to employees (particularly pertinent in the restaurant sector) try to provide healthy options in order to maintain high levels of performance, productivity and wellbeing.
  • Provide adequate equipment and uniform for your staff members for all weather conditions so that they are as comfortable and as safe as possible.
  • Providing out of work activities can encourage staff members to lead a healthy lifestyle, while also fostering a sense of unity and team spirit. This might include access to a gym (if available on site), team sports, regular group meditation and/or yoga sessions. 

 

Support and Respect

The psychological effects (https://click.booking.com/features/2018/06/12/prioritising-staff-welfare-hospitality/) of dealing with rude or even discriminatory customers are just some of the challenges faced by employees within the hospitality industry. We’ve all heard the axiom “the customer is always right” and in such a competitive market, it is understandable that companies are highly motivated by customer opinion, and the effect this can have on profits and brand reputation.

As a result there can be a disproportionately high value placed on customers, as opposed to the opinions of staff that are responsible for serving them. However what’s more difficult to quantify is the impact that unhappy employees can have on the overall success of a business, particularly when they feel unsupported. 

Unfortunately, 52.2% of hospitality workers have actually considered leaving their place of work due to a lack of support. The constant pressure from managers on their staff to maintain the outward appearance of happiness in the face of all kinds of customer attitudes, increases the feeling of discontent and the lack of a support structure. 

However, there are a variety of policies and procedures that if correctly implemented, can ensure that both employers and employees can benefit from an environment that fosters mutual support and respect.

One of the easiest ways to encourage support is through the standardization of procedures concerning customer complaints. By ensuring every member of staff adheres to uniformed company protocols, this can reduce any ambiguity on how a particular situation should be dealt with. This in turn can minimize staff members from feeling undermined by managers in situations that could be deemed subjective. 

Creating staff incentives and rewards can also be a great way to engage staff members, increase productivity, and ease any interpersonal tensions at work. By encouraging cooperation where employees work towards a common goal, tensions can gradually be eased through collaboration and teamwork. 

 

Wellbeing isn’t just a legal duty

Employers have a duty of care to their employees, which means that they should take steps in order to ensure their health, safety and wellbeing. However tackling mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression and stress, should not be simply considered as a legal duty; it can be a key factor in building trust between staff and management, reinforcing an organization’s commitment to its employees.

It’s not always easy however, and often requires advice, guidance or training from individuals qualified to deal with complex and often serious issues. In circumstances where you may not have the resources or experience to deal with mental health conditions, it may be advisable to seek external help to ensure your staff have the appropriate level of support they need.

For many, particularly young people about to enter the workplace for the first time, the fast-paced and emotionally-charged environments produced by some hospitality sectors can create a negative stigma surrounding these types of industries. As a result, a growing number of people have decided against a career in hospitality. As society becomes increasingly concerned with the effects of mental health, it seems that a greater understanding of what wellbeing in the workplace truly means may be the key to meeting the growing need for hospitality staff.


Pam LochPam Loch is a writer interested in both physical and mental wellbeing in the workplace. Her interests have led her to become the Managing Director of Loch Associates Group, who are experts in Employment Law, HR Management and Health & Safety. She works with both employers and staff to ensure wellbeing in the workplace.


Tags:  Hospitality  Mental Health  wellbeing 

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Locus of Control as a Bridge Between Mindfulness and Basic Health Education

Posted By Rich Morris, Thursday, January 17, 2019
Updated: Thursday, January 17, 2019

My academic background is in exercise physiology, and I have taught Health continuously at the college level since 1979 at four different institutions. My primary title during those years, however, was NCAA swimming coach. Coaching swimming is an extremely technical endeavor. Biomechanical analysis of technique, combined with a thorough understanding of anatomy, kinesiology, and physiology help a coach prepare athletes for amazing feats. But no matter how well trained an athlete is, the mind can help or hurt their performance. One of the all-time great coaches, Dr. James Councilman, said:

“Give similar top swimmers to three different coaches. One, an expert in the physiology of training, another in the biomechanics of stroke, and the last one an expert in sport psychology, the third coach’s athlete will win every time.”

And so, coaches such as myself schooled in the physical, studied even harder how to motivate and sustain an athlete’s spirit. What kept me in the sport for so long was the ever-changing science of performance. Years ago, we all learned that yoga and mindfulness can help an athlete. Some coaches ignored the studies, some embraced them, but most of us tried to work it into our schedule like so much weight lifting.

Swim team practicing yoga and mindfulness before practice.Here is a picture of my team practicing yoga and mindfulness techniques before practice. The yoga instructor was thrilled by the response, all the athletes seemed to love it. But let’s dig into that a bit. Some of the athletes loved the fact that yoga was taking away pool time. Others appreciated the opportunity to center themselves and relieve the day’s stress. Out of the nearly 40 athletes, maybe 3 or 4 actually improved as an athlete by really using the skills they were learning.

And so my journey continued. From a physiologist’s standpoint, I understood clearly how increasing circulation cleared the stress hormones and benefited any training. From a fledgling psychological standpoint, I could see and feel the benefits of self-monitoring emotions and accepting them, moving into seeking alternative perspectives without judgment, allowing for changing attitudes. But I couldn’t teach it by sticking to the curriculum or practice schedule, there seemed to be a big piece missing.

For over twenty years I have given a clinical survey on Locus of Control as a pre-test to all of my classes. Julian Rotter’s research into how we perceive the control in our lives, be it external such as fate, divine intervention or luck, vs internal through mindful choices, understanding and accepting the consequences before deciding, intrigued me, so I studied it further. The fascinating thing about this was no matter where you fall in the continuum, you truly accept that as reality. If you are worried about a test or project next week, there can be a huge paradigm change caused by a very subtle shift in perception. A more external person gives the test power and control over their life. The date of the test, the professor’s demeanor, the amount of material covered, all are cause for concern. The more internal person sees the test as a thing and is more concerned with their own attitude towards that thing. Studying the material, of course, is paramount, but the truly internal person has been studying all along, talking to the professor after class when clarification was needed, doing the readings and participating in class. For them, the control comes from personal preparation. Not just the material covered, but also eating correctly, taking study breaks to clear their mind, getting rest and exercise to keep circulation going, a holistic approach to success.

From a physiological perspective, stress is the release of hormones causing predictable changes in the body as a result of reacting to a stressor. For the more external person, the test is stress. It causes the release of the hormones, therefore the reaction is predictable. To the more internal person, mindful of alternative perspectives, the test is a stressor. Assess the difficulty, plan your response, control the level of hormones released. Take time and effort to clear the hormones as you prepare. As Viktor Frankl wrote,

“Between stimulus and response, there lies a space. In that space is a choice. In that choice lies our growth and our freedom.”

Does the test represent stress or a stressor to you? That, to me, is where mindfulness training has to start. Behavioral psychology has always reinforced the behavior after the action. And the fact is it works, people can be manipulated by reinforcing desired behavior. In my classes, I try to get students to experience that moment of clarity brought on by a mindful decision. Take that extra beat before reacting, breath, seek alternatives without judgment. Then make a decision understanding the reinforcement will come as a result of your choice; not luck, chance or powerful others. You chose the consequence. Subtle, but so powerful.


Richard MorrisRichard Morris has a degree in Exercise Physiology from UCF and a Masters from UTC in health and Physical Education. Richard has served as a floor exercise leader and adult fitness director at private clubs. In 1990 he served as Orange County, Florida's first wellness coordinator and developed "Wellworks" wellness programming for over 7,000 employees. He currently serves as Director of Health Education at Rollins College, where he has taught and coached for nearly 30 years. He and his wife Lisa have two children and three grandchildren.

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What to Consider Before Consulting a Physical Therapist

Posted By Dr. Brent Wells, D.C., Thursday, January 10, 2019
Updated: Thursday, January 10, 2019

x-ray of hand making OK symbol

Photo: Owen Beard on Unsplash

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) boasts more than 95,000 members in the United States alone. Although many of those members are not licensed physical therapists, a majority of them are chiropractors, podiatrists, rheumatologists, neurologists and other respected medical professionals who take an active interest in their client’s overall wellbeing.

 

For patients who willingly participate in it, well-managed physical therapy has countless benefits, including:(APTA) boasts more than 95,000 members in the United States alone. Although many of those members are not licensed physical therapists, a majority of them are chiropractors, podiatrists, rheumatologists, neurologists and other respected medical professionals who take an active interest in their client’s overall wellbeing.

  • Increased range of motion
  • Decreased pain
  • Enhanced pain tolerance
  • Reduced swelling
  • Improved muscle tone
  • Revitalized mental health

Despite the increased availability, however, it can be difficult for a patient to feel confident when choosing a physical therapist. To make matters seem more complicated than they need to be, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported more than 200,000 physical therapists working on American soil as of 2016, with a steep increase of about 28% since then.

What Is A Physical Therapist?

According to the World Confederation for Physical Therapy, a physical therapist goes by many names: physiotherapist, kinesiologist, and chiropractors just to name a few. Regardless of the title, physical therapists provide a variety of essential services. Typically, their carefully cultivated techniques help patients restore, develop, or maintain function and mobility in any part of the body.

 

Patients seek help from physical therapists for numerous reasons, including but certainly not limited to the following:

  • Injury
  • Injury prevention
  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical promotion
  • Illness
  • Disease
  • Age
  • Environmental conditions
  • Professional goals

woman getting physical therapy

 

In short, physical therapists work diligently to help patients improve the quality of their life, whether that be simply regaining the ability to walk or competing in a marathon. It’s important to consider your needs and expectations before scheduling an appointment with a physical therapist.

 

What to Expect During Routine Physical Therapy

Although every patient is unique and all physical therapists use different methods, the average PT session involves a series of required activities and exercises. Especially if the therapist is legitimately qualified and professional, you can expect the following things to take place during most routine physical therapy appointments:

  • A comprehensive examination to analyze the patient’s physical limitations and therapeutic requirements
  • An evaluation of data from the initial analysis to make clinical decisions regarding the patient in question
  • Development a diagnosis and prognosis
  • Formulation of an effective treatment or intervention plan
  • A consultation about any potentially helpful referrals to outside healthcare professionals
  • Implementation of the aforementioned treatment plan
  • Gather data during each session to determine the expected outcome of treatments
  • Recommendations regarding self-care

If you experience anything that diverges from what’s listed above, be sure to communicate your concern with the therapist as soon as possible. It may be that you’re simply participating in innovative treatments. However, too many deviations should raise red flags.

 

doctor examining x-ray

Photo: rawpixel on Unsplash

How Does Physical Therapy Work?

Physical therapy is effective at helping patients in numerous ways, and the reasons for that are quite clear according to the experts. However, patients are always urged to consider their current physical fitness level and general health when formulating a treatment plan. Although physical therapists are specially trained to coax the body into regaining range of motion, strength or flexibility, they are not miracle workers.

Physical therapy works best when a patient is ready for a challenge. Licensed therapists can teach various exercises and stretches or introduce patients to specialized equipment to use independently but they cannot force patients to comply. Since effective physical therapy typically requires several weeks, individual self-care is an important part of the process and should never be underestimated.

During most therapeutic sessions, therapists will work with the patient to achieve pre-set goals. Throughout the process, but depending on the physical requirements of the patient, the following treatment techniques will likely be used:

Stretching

Muscles and joints can become stiff and tight, especially after long periods of inactivity. Physical therapists assist patients with deep stretches to loosen muscles and tendons and improve overall functionality.

Strengthening Exercises

By improving the strength of the muscles in the body, patients thereby enjoy enhanced balance and increased range of motion. Physical therapists use graduated weights to boost the patient’s forte as much as possible.

Core Strengthening

The strength of the body’s core is perhaps the most important part of physical fitness. Therapists work on stability by guiding patients during various workouts that target the abdominal and thoracic muscles.

Application of Ice or Heat

Introducing heat and/or cold to muscles and joints can decrease pain, increase range of motion, and promote better blood flow throughout the body. Physical therapists use heat and/or ice treatments at the beginning or end of most sessions, especially with patients who have sustained an injury.

Acupressure or Chiropractic Massage

Targeted massage, also known as chiropractic massage or acupressure, is perhaps the most enjoyable part of most physical therapy sessions. Experts providing chiropractic massage use state-of-the-art procedures to relieve pain, make necessary adjustments to the musculoskeletal system and boost circulation.

Electrical Stimulation (E-Stim)

Used primarily as a tool for physical therapists, e-stim treatments send waves of dense electrical currents to certain parts of the body. Physical therapists will subject various muscles or nerves to controlled stimulation for the purposes to encouraging movement, sensation and blood flow.

NOTE: In some cases, a physical therapist may utilize ultrasounds or x-rays to determine the extent of an injury or monitor improvements. Ultrasounds may also be used to stimulate blood flow post-therapy.

When Is Physical Therapy Better than Medication?

Properly monitored and responsibly used prescription medication has its merits. However, physical therapy may be a better option for some people. Pharmaceuticals are often laden with potentially harmful chemicals and can present dangerous side effects. On the contrary, physical therapy tends to lean toward a more natural, holistic approach to healthcare.

Therefore, physical therapy may be better than medication when patients are experiencing adverse side effects. However, one should err on the side of caution and consult with a doctor before abruptly stopping any medicinal regimen. Often, routine physical therapy can serve as supplemental rehabilitation when used alongside the proper medication.

Who Can Benefit from Physical Therapy?

children playing outdoors

Photo: Mi Pham on Unsplash

Fortunately, physical therapy is safe, effective and appropriate for people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. In fact, there’s an entire PT specialization that focused exclusively on children and another for the elderly. Expect the treatment options to be tailored around each patient’s unique needs and characteristics.

 


Dr. Brent WellsDr. Brent Wells, D.C. is graduate of the University of Nevada and Western States Chiropractic College in Portland, Oregon. As the founder of Better Health Chiropractic in Wasilla, Dr. Wells is highly respected in his field as one of the premier chiropractors in Alaska. He specializes in rehabilitative therapies which include acupressure, chiropractic massage, adjustments and natural pain relief at his multi-disciplinary clinic.

He enthusiastically continues his education with ongoing research on spinal conditions, neurology, physical therapy, biomechanics, and trauma. As an active member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians, Dr. Wells also supports numerous studies and volunteers at the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Foundation.


AUTHORITY SOURCES:

https://www.thegoodbody.com/physical-therapy-statistics-and-facts/

http://www.apta.org/

http://benefitof.net/benefits-of-physical-therapy/

https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physical-therapists.htm

https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/buildingselfesteem/2015/09/why-self-care-is-important-for-your-mental-physical-health

https://www.wcpt.org/what-is-physical-therapy

https://www.verywellhealth.com/physical-therapy-a2-2549751

https://www.kidtherapy.org/services/physical-therapy/

https://www.verywellhealth.com/electrical-stimulation-2696122

https://cumberlink.com/news/health/ask_pt/ask-your-physical-therapist-why-physical-therapy-is-better-than/article_d620d819-cfaf-5033-aa49-ba6a110f6442.html

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Tags:  chiropractic  physical therapy  wellness 

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NWI Member Spotlight - January 2019

Posted By NWI, Friday, January 4, 2019
Updated: Friday, January 4, 2019

Nicole AkparewaNicole Akparewa, RN, MPH, MSN

Creative Director of “Transform Nursing”

John Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health

John Hopkins University, School of Nursing

My mission is to train nurses globally with the tools they need to confidently address health policy, patient advocacy, and patient engagement in both clinical and non-clinical settings. Transformative nursing means that every nurse in every country has the knowledge, the training, and the ability to be effective leaders who will combat health disparities through empowerment, awareness, and education. I am a nurse entrepreneur and coach who teaches online courses for nurses to delve deeply into health and social challenges, and empower the global community of nurses to take the lead on health system change.

The way I have created social impact, which is the effect I want to have on the well-being of the communities I serve, is through blogging and podcasting to build awareness of social justice. I use Facebook Live to speak to the issues that nurses are facing. I also have a course that is focused on social justice and influential leadership called the “Nurse's Influential Leadership Lab” that is all about creating nurse leaders in inclusive practices.  

I lead with passion, bold enthusiasm, and most importantly by example. When it comes to approaching uncomfortable topics in nursing, I don’t ask my students do something that I don’t have the courage to do. I share my stories about nursing, even the times where I felt slighted or shamed, or just fell flat on my face. My relationship with nursing has endured many iterations from infatuation, to bittersweet, to verging on resignation because I didn’t feel comfortable speaking out about issues that made me or my patients unsafe. I finally realized that I have a distinct purpose in nursing — to create a safe space for nurses to have a deeper awareness of how their individual practice can improve the lives of their patients beyond the hospital room, and transcend into their lives and communities.

What makes me who I am is my dedication to my purpose and the atmosphere of support that I provide the students in my courses. I am often termed the “eternal cheerleader” because I champion for nurses to take the lead on health policy and education while being involved in civic engagement. I help nurses make subtle shifts that can bring profound changes, and reflections that yield those “aha” moments as they awaken to new insights. It’s really quite special to watch. My authentic desire is to co-create, collaborate, and build strength in the nursing community through a transformative process that will help you find yet undiscovered joys and new challenges in your profession.

I am originally from Seattle, WA. I graduated from the University of Washington School of Nursing with a BSN and then the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing with a dual Masters in Nursing and Public Health. I knew nursing was my passion when I met a Native American nursing student who worked with pregnant teenagers in her tribe. Until then I never knew that nurses worked in the community.

When I’m not working I like to spend time with my little boy Gabriel, read books, and watch the Golden Girls.

To learn more about Nicole and her work contact her at:

Phone: 443.388.6345
E-mail: transformnursing@gmail.com
Website: TransformNursing.com

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