Changing our own behaviour or supporting our patients to change theirs, for the benefit of their health can be hard, but with increased knowledge at our fingertips it is made much easier!
Having moved into practice nursing, one of the most fundamental changes was to focus on health promotion and education; to encourage all our patients, not just those with chronic diseases, to make lifestyle changes and increase exercise. However within the allotted appointment time the subject of exercise is often only briefly discussed.
Then, one of the doctors in my practice introduced me to the physical activity and lifestyle toolkit. These factsheets have been used by doctors for several years and are now made available to nurses, so now I can use them to give out to my patients and reinforce the same advice.
There is quite a lot of reading in the factsheets, but with the practical details and knowledge I now use in my consultations, my ability to promote activity has been transformed. I can now confidently answer queries relating to many more conditions that respond positively to exercise and feel better equipped to motivate my patients to do these exercises. Also very importantly, this new knowledge has inspired me to become far more active myself, to engage in a regular exercise plan and do weekly mountain bike rides!
The factsheets cover areas such as: Chief Medical Officer guidelines, Read Codes, Information on 30+ medical conditions, contraindications, motivational behaviour change and advice on starting to exercise. They are well written, easy to read and backed up with NICE guidance points in brief and concise detail. There are also links into other resources and plenty of layman resources I then refer the patients to.
Everything you need to know is on these sheets; they really are the Wikipedia of physical activity! Find them here in the Physical Activity and Lifestyle Toolkit.