Contact: Thomas Hottman
Hospital plans healthy activities for staff
By NORA AVERY-PAGE
H&N Staff Reporter
The staff at Sky Lakes Medical Center is embarking on an eight-week summer wellness program for the chance to not only win prizes, but to improve their own health and encourage others to do the same.
The program, which started Monday with the “Walk for Wellness” part of the program, was proposed by the hospital’s ACTIONS committee, which works to inspire and motivate staff and the Sky Lakes Wellness Center team.
Kevin Burbules, the hospital’s interim director of information systems, mapped and marked out a walking path around the outside of the hospital measuring almost one mile. He hopes to get his whole department involved in the program and is planning a group walk later this week.
Taking a walk
The walking part of the program offers all the hospital employees a good challenge to get moving, get some fresh air, and is a visible activity for the community and other staff to see and hopefully encourage those people to take a walk as well, Burbules said. “I think the visibility, peer to peer, is a great thing, a good motivator,” he said.
It’s also important for the community to see the staff’s healthy efforts — if the hospital is going to encourage healthy habits for everyone in the community, it should start with the staff, Burbules added. “That is evidence that we believe what we’re preaching,” he said.
The idea to encourage staff to make healthier choices themselves originally came from the ACTIONS committee, which reached out to the Wellness Center team of Dr. Stephanie Van Dyke and Katherine Pope. The two women suggested a few ideas for healthy activities, and the committee liked the ideas so much, they decided to turn it into the eight-week program, Pope explained.
Also as part of the program, Johnathan Doud, an outpatient specialist at Sky Lakes, will produce a health promotion video. He’s hoping to include as many staff members as possible, and will start planning the fun video Friday, said Doud, who has a theater background and has performed in several shows at the Ross Ragland Theater.
The video will help not only increase staff pride in the hospital, but also raise awareness about the importance of health in the community, Van Dyke said.
During each week throughout the program, the staff is incentivized to participate in different healthy activities, like the walking program, in which they can record their laps around the hospital, or their number of steps each day, Van Dyke said.
Prizes include paid time off (PTO), Sky Lakes swag such as clothing, or cafeteria gift cards for healthy food.
“I think as people do this they’ll feel better, so health is its own reward, but it helps to have the chance to get some PTO, too,” Pope said.
Besides the walking program, other weekly activities part of the program are “Healthy Selfie,” where staff can submit and vote on photos of themselves demonstrating healthy behavior, “Eat Your Way to Health,” when participants will count the number of fruit and vegetable servings they eat during the week, and a quiz contest called “How Much Do You Know About Health?”
The program will end with a “Biggest Loser” competition from Aug. 4 through 29. Individual participants or teams who have the highest percentage of weight loss or the highest percentage of fat loss will be featured in the Herald and News and will win up to eight hours of paid time off.
Photo: A group of Sky Lakes employees walks part of the route marked out by information systems director Kevin Burbules. The one-mile route runs around the hospital building.