Let’s Take a Break! Self-Care Strategies for New Healthcare Employees

Guilfoile Jill headshot - small.jpg Guilfoile Ruthanne Werner headshot.jpg

 Jill Guilfoile, MEd, BSN, RN-BC and Ruthanne Werner, MEd, MSN, RN-BC are Education Consultants at Cincinnati Children's Hospital in Cincinnati, OH.


It is not a new revelation that self-care promotes health and well-being for any individual. However, those working in the healthcare environment face particular stressors such as high patient census, death and dying, challenges of international patients, shift work and demanding family situations.


Many organizations have initiated workplace wellness programs in order to maintain a healthy workforce and decrease healthcare expenditures. Corporate wellness programs are often tied to an organization’s core values and strategic initiatives. At what point of employment are staff made aware of opportunities to utilize available resources? At Cincinnati Childrens, new Patient Services staff are exposed to wellness program resources during day one of orientation. We encourage staff to explore MyHealthPath, our organization’s wellness site, and participate in active strategies for optimum health.

Incentives: Money, Paid Time Off!

Guilfoile MyHealthPlan.png

In the introduction to employee health and wellness we share information about the importance of self-care in the work environment and the associated group activities allow participants to apply self-care strategies during the class. This is done through active learning methods that include scenario-based group work and three hands on self-care stations involving walking, stretching and relaxation techniques.


Stretch Station: 

Guilfoile Stretching Station.jpg

Sample from Walking Station Poster:   


Guilfoile Walking Station Poster.PNG

Stress Management Station:

Guilfoile Stress Management Station 1.jpg Guilfoile Stress Management Station 2.png

The orientation facilatators role model healthy behaviors by taking the stairs during employee building tours, putting on sneakers and taking a walk at break time, and sharing the “healthy challenges” that we are involved with on MyHealthPath.


We have been very excited about the positive response from employees! Comments from new staff related to these activities show a high level of satisfaction about what is offered at the organization and during the orientation class time. Practicing how to find the online resources is beneficial and remarks about feeling valued by the organization are voiced as well. These activities also serve as a reminder that employees can and should take mental and physical breaks throughout their day…it is part of the Cincinnati Children’s strategic initiative!

Guilfoile Call to Action - small.jpg

So our “Call to Action” for those of you reading this blog is:

  • What will you do with this information?
  • How can some of this be incorporated in your workplace or organization overall?
  • Are you ready to be a wellness/self-care champion?


We are happy to talk to anyone about how we incorporated employee self-care into our new employee orientation, so questions are welcome!

Here’s to a happy, healthy and active 2016!


*Jill & Ruthanne will be presenting a poster on this topic at the 2016 ANPD Annual Convention in Pittsburgh, PA.

Recent Stories
Making A Difference: An Anthology of Nursing Professional Development Stories

Transition to NPD Practice Fellowship Course

New Resources for the Role of Professional Development Associate