Jan Sinclair - a Senior Public Health Nurse from Stockport - is marking the first Great British Week of Sport (19 -27 September), by encouraging fellow nurses and midwives to support their patients to get active and reduce the risk of serious illness, including Covid-19. The initiative, led by ukactive with support from Public Health England’s (PHE) Better Health campaign and Sport England, will highlight the benefits that sport and physical activity have on people’s mental and physical wellbeing.
I firmly believe that as healthcare professionals we can play an important role in supporting patients who are struggling to keep active. I’m part of a national network of 40+ Physical Activity Clinical Champions (PACCs) that works with PHE and NHS organisations to deliver free online training sessions to the healthcare workforce. Physical activity will play a key role in building the nation’s health resilience and easing pressures on the NHS.
All healthcare professionals have a crucial role in supporting patients who are struggling to keep active. In fact, one in four people have stated that they would be more active if they were advised by a GP or nurse.
As someone who has been an active since childhood, my role as Physical Activity Clinical Champion supports my philosophy of maintaining a good level of health and fitness. I engage in regular activities, leading my hospital trusts running group and attending dance classes.
I appreciate, however, that not all health care professionals are as active. It’s important, therefore, that we have opportunities to build our skills and knowledge in this area, so we have the confidence to advise our patients.
I find it incredibly rewarding to know that my training sessions can support behaviour change for healthcare professionals and patients. Nothing can replace how valuable a conversation with your patients about the benefits of keeping active.
I’ve seen patients who hadn’t previously thought about being active, go on to join social running groups after being given brief advice from a healthcare professional.
For some patients it can be walking or building activities into their everyday lives. Having these conversations with your patients can instigate some powerful and positive changes in their health.
How to access training and resources to discuss physical activity with patients;
To find out how NHS organisations can book training sessions delivered by the network Physical Activity Clinical Champions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The online training forms part of the Moving Healthcare Professionals Programme (led by PHE and Sport England), which also offers e-learning and online resources for HCPs.
To coincide with the Great British Week of Sport, PHE are also encouraging people to get active using the free ‘Active 10’ and ‘Couch to 5k’ apps as part of the Better Health campaign. Further support and tools suitable for all levels of fitness will also be available on the Better Health website to find out more.