Health behaviors of registered nurses in a hospital setting: A descriptive study
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In the United States (US), 3.1 million nurses comprise the single largest group of direct health care providers (U. S. Department of Health and Human Services [USDHHS], 2010). The majority (62%) of US nurses work in hospitals, with great potential to promote health and educate vast numbers of patients and families (USDHHS, 2010). Although health promotion is a responsibility of every nurse, little is known about nurses’ personal preventative health behaviors. The purpose of this study was to describe and examine registered nurses’ personal health behaviors, identify sociodemographic variables associated with health behaviors, and determine whether nurses perceive themselves as role models of healthy behavior. Guided by Pender’s health promotion model, a quantitative descriptive design was used to characterize the health-promoting behaviors of registered nurses working in an acute care hospital. The Health Promotion Lifestyle Profile II (HPLP II) questionnaire was used to examine the health behaviors of the nurses through an online survey. A convenience sample of 250 nurses was recruited from registered nurses who worked in a large acute care hospital system in Texas, primarily in a staff nurse role. The standard multiple regression model was used to describe the demographic characteristics of the of the study sample, which was 91% female and racially diverse (Caucasian 36%, Asian 32%, and African American 22%). Descriptive statistics were used to investigate nurses’ health behaviors and their perceptions of role modeling. Nurses in the study rated average on practicing positive health behaviors using the HPLP II total scale (TotHPLP). They also reported average for perception on personal role modeling and above average with respect to the nursing profession serving as role models to the community and patients. Personal control was found to be a statistically significant predictor of the nurses’ total health promotion behavior when the variable of role model for patients and community was controlled (t =3.863, p>.001). Thus, there were no significant relationships between work-related demographics, personal demographics, and health promotion (F [10,179]=661, p>.05). In conclusion, nurses who indicated a belief that they should be personal role models and who perceived that they had control over their health-related behaviors had higher health promotion scores.