Today, the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC Health) launches a 60-day nutrition pilot to improve the eating habits of nurses. MUSC Health nurses are hungry for healthier food options, and through this pilot they have a new opportunity to increase their daily consumption of fruits and vegetables. By offering fresh, seasonal and locally sourced Simply-to-Go food items available for quick pick up at three locations on the MUSC campus, the pilot seeks to improve the quality of life for caregivers who work so hard to help others. The pilot is supported by Sodexo Healthcare, a food services and facilities management company committed to improving quality of life, and a major partner in the Healthy Nurse, Health Nation™ Grand Challenge (HNHN) an initiative of the ANA Enterprise. MUSC is a HNHN partner and the first organization selected to participate in a HNHN quality of life program in the U.S. It is the only participant site in South Carolina.
“Our nurses impact the lives of their patients, colleagues, families, and neighbors every day. We had no reservations when we were approached to spearhead the pilot because the health of our staff is a top-priority,” said Andrea Coyle, MUSC Health Professional Excellence and Magnet Program director and registered nurse. “We are honored to work alongside Sodexo and ANA to offer more quality food options on our campus and serve as a model for other organizations.”
The health of the average nurse is worse than that of the average American. Whether it’s due to demanding shifts or stress associated with providing the best patient care, nurses routinely put their own health and well-being last. In a recent survey, 75 percent of MUSC nurses said they put the health, safety and wellness of patients before their own. Nurses everywhere tend to have a 30 percent less nutritious diet despite vast knowledge about prevention. Almost half of MUSC nurses said they eat at fast food establishments or similar restaurants 1-2 times a week and 31 percent said they do so 3-4 times a week. In the same survey, the majority of MUSC nurses typically have 2-3 servings of fruits, vegetables and whole grains each day. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that all individuals eat between 3-5 servings of whole grains and 5 -9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
Studies have shown that when clinicians are healthy themselves, they are more likely to counsel patients about healthy behaviors and they are considered as more credible by patients.
“Nurses are viewed as exemplars of health due to their expertise, knowledge and role across all areas of health care. The HNHN pilot at MUSC is a shining example of how we can begin to close the gap between knowing and doing,” said Bonnie Clipper, DNP, RN, MA, MBA, CENP, FACHE, ANA Enterprise vice president of Practice and Innovation. “The well-being of nurses is fundamental to the health of our nation.”
“We believe that quality of life extends outside of our homes and into the workplace,” said Catherine J. Tabaka, CEO Sodexo Healthcare North America. “It’s our pleasure to participate in this important initiative that will further enhance the health and wellness for MUSC nurses so they can focus on their highest priority – caring for the patients.”
The outcomes and results from the MUSC nutrition pilot will be presented this fall. HNHN, made possible through Sodexo’s multi-million dollar contribution to the American Nurses Foundation, engages 330 partner organizations and over 21,000 participants to take action to improve nurses’ health. HNHN was recently named a 2018 Power of A Silver Award winner for enriching lives and positively impacting America through broad-reaching programs and activities. Both individuals and organizational partners can learn about the HNHN Grand Challenge by visiting