Motivation is key
05 May 2017
By Hayley Carmichael
Suzanne Rolfe is an occupational therapist at SCFT who is leading on an interesting new way to get staff thinking differently about their health at work. She tells us why…
I commenced my role as the Health and Wellbeing Occupational Health Nurse in August 2016. I have been a nurse for thirteen years and I come from an acute background. Health at work and work/ life balance are very important to me and I know that this can be very difficult with high workloads and high stressors.
One of the first tasks which I was given was to design a health check programme. The idea of the checks is to cover all areas of health such as; diet, weight, smoking, alcohol use, psychological stress and work life balance. When I started to design the health checks I knew that I did not want to create a tick box programme or deliver a didactic lecture of advice. So I decided to explore different underlying principles which would provide an individual and holistic assessment.
Eventually I designed a health check which is built on the premise of motivational interviewing (MI). Motivational Interviewing encourages the individual to look at their own beliefs surrounding their health and allows them to explore the changes which they wish to make. The health check is called ‘Your Health, Your Wellbeing’ and it is aimed to help the client explore all aspects of their own physical and psychological health in a safe environment.
What happens in an assessment?
During the assessment the client can have their blood pressure taken, be assessed for diabetes risk, be weighed and or have their BMI checked. However I must stress that these are ALL optional; during the design of the checks, I made the decision that it is not always necessary to weigh somebody. Often an individual knows that they are overweight and the premise of the health check is to encourage positive decision making and find the right advice.
Once the client has decided which changes they would like to make, we are then able to discuss how they would like to do it, if they have attempted to make a change before (for example giving up smoking) we can examine why the previous attempts didn’t work and then explore new or different tactics.
Once the assessment has been completed we then write a Motivational Plan which they can keep for guidance. We are always happy to follow our clients up and give further advice if necessary.
Meet me at the Wellbeing@Work Festival
I personally have really enjoyed designing the Health Checks, it is a great way to meet staff and I feel that our team can really help individuals make really great changes. Furthermore, we do believe that prevention is so much better than cure and by carrying out these health checks we hope to help staff to keep a healthy and happy future.
You can meet me at SCFT’s Wellbeing@Work Festival roadshows this May. Do come along and say hello.