I started working at this hospital 5 years ago. During orientation I learned that we have a small gym on site that is primarily for use by our patients, but staff also have access to use it when they are not working (before work, after work, or on days off but NOT during lunch breaks). I went along with it because I was new, but the restrictions didn’t sit well with me.
After being here for about 18 months I transitioned from a clinical role into a quasi-administrative role, and this freed up time during my day to be part of several committees. Some I was assigned to, some I was able to chose to belong to. My first choice was to be a part of our Wellness Committee. I’d heard that in the past they had done great things and I wanted to be a part of that action. Over the next several years I kept bringing up the restrictions at the fitness center, and each time I was met with a range of reasons why we CAN’T do it. Sometimes it was because it would take the equipment availability away from the patients, other times it was the old “workman’s comp” excuse. THAT one especially didn’t sit well with me.
It seems that the facility was more comfortable with us going outside to walk on uneven surfaces with heavy traffic (no sidewalks at all around here) or foul weather rather than take a 20 minute walk on mostly underused treadmills (please pardon my snark, but really i was nearing the breaking point on this issue).
But we didn’t give up. Several times a year I and a few others would bring this up every chance we got. Anytime someone with a lengthy titlel after their name was willing to listen, we’d chat them up about how great it would be for staff to be able to use the facility. There are a few commercial gyms in our area, but none of them are close enough to use at lunch, and none of them have a discount program for our facility. We’ve tried that, too. Several times. For several reasons, we are not able to extend this type of discount through our facility. Our health insurance companies do offer some discounts at area facilities, which is nice, but sadly the one that you can see from the hospital is not on that list.
Our new facility Director is a big advocate for employee health and wellness; I find this very refreshing and have been inspired to once again take up the sword and fight to get things moving (pun intended) here for our employees. A healthy employee is a happy employee, right? Right.
This morning we were treated to this announcement from the Director. It made my work week, and has helped me narrow my focus here at the office. I truely hope that this is a sign of more good things to come.
Greetings Anytown, USA Staff:
In recent years, our approach to providing care to our patients has changed to focus on health and wellness. The health and well-being of our employees is equally important. With this in mind, we want to continue to expand our employee offerings to promote employee health and well being. The facility currently offers lunch time yoga, weight watchers, martial arts and our beautiful walking paths on campus. Effective March 17th we will add to this the opportunity for employees to utilize the Fitness Center during their approved lunch times. The room includes strength equipment, pulley stations and aerobic equipment. Access to the room is granted after completion of a onetime only mandatory orientation. You can stop by the Fitness Center to schedule an orientation. Come join the Fitness Center and enjoy an additional benefit of working at the WRJ VA Medical Center. Special thanks to our Employee Wellness Committee members who have championed our efforts to enhance programming that will improve all of our health!
Medical Center Director
My take away lesson here and one that I want to pass along to ya’ll is to NEVER GIVE UP. If you find something that you want, KEEP AFTER IT. You’ll be glad you did.