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Saturday, Sep 23, 2023

Simi Hospital Nurses Staff Health

You might think hospitals, of all employers, would be the most aggressive in promoting their own workers’ health. That’s not necessarily so, at least when it comes to the cafeteria, where greasy burgers are often the leading lunch fare. Simi Valley Hospital is trying to do something about that. The hospital has just started a new health and wellness program that includes providing a fresh fruit basket on Mondays and a free daily side order of the “vegetable of the day” in the cafeteria. “A lot of times the nurses and physicians focus on the health of the community and the patients and forget about their own wellness,” said Sandy Werner, director of human resources at the hospital, owned by Adventist Health, a non-profit based in Roseville and run by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Apart from the well-received mixed fruit baskets and steamed vegetables, the program also offers a smoking cessation program and is looking into gym memberships for employees. Hospital nurse Janice Ennis joined a weight loss program around the time the program started, enabling her to lose more than 30 pounds and encouraging co-workers to follow suit. “I feel very grateful to have these benefits. I’ve worked in hospitals for over 30 years and there was nothing but greasy burgers. Adventist Health is very in touch with healthy living and I appreciate their support,” she said. Although the “holistic health” trend is a fairly new one, Seventh-Day Adventists have been following a similar lifestyle for well over a century. The teachings include a belief that “proper nutrition, fresh air, water, exercise and trust in the divine power” can achieve proper health and wellness. Promoting health to employees is a workplace trend that seems to be catching on. In 2014, federal health care reform will create new incentives to promote employer wellness programs. Research shows that employers save an average of $6 for every $1 spent on wellness programs in the private and public sectors. “Employers are reducing their costs incrementally,” said James Lott, executive vice-president of the Hospital Association of Southern California. “It takes more than healthy food but that’s a start. The idea is to get people to change their mindset.” Simi Valley Hospital’s Living Well program also encourages employees to take other approaches to healthier living. This week, the hospital’s various departments are participating in a competition that encourages employees to take the stairs and avoid the elevator. The winners receive another fruit basket. – Lucy Guanuna

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