An influential nurse has questioned if overweight nurses could be in breach of their code of conduct.
WeNurses founder and ‘social media nurse’ Teresa Chinn MBE posed the question of if overweight nurses are fit to practise to her social media followers in a highly debated post titled ‘fit to practice’.
The post highlights that registered nurses should be mindful of their Nursing and Midwifery Council Code of Conduct which states under section 20.9 that nurses should “maintain the level of health you need to carry out your professional role”.
A recent study highlighted that up to 1 in 4 healthcare workers are overweight with the highest levels of obesity found in nurses and unregistered care workers. The purpose of the study was to look at the link between obesity, musculoskeletal conditions and mental health conditions.
In the post, Ms Chinn reflects on her own struggles, commenting that 12-hour shifts alongside an ever-increasing workload are the primary contributing factors.
One in four.
In a statement to NursingNotes, Ms Chinn said; “It’s a pretty shocking figure that 1 in 4 nurses are obese. I have struggled with obesity myself and have worked hard to bring myself into the overweight category, I have spent most of last few years this trying to put that, but nevertheless I remain overweight.
“Shift working, not taking breaks, the sheer physical aspect of being on the go for 12 hours, and turning a blind eye to the problem have all contributed to my obsesity. Since loosing weight I have found that this has had a huge impact on the way I nurse; I can speak after running down a corridor to an emergency, I can kneel down (and get up again) to attend to a patient and I no longer feel exhausted at the end of a 12 hour shift.
“This isn’t about the way we look this is about nurses being fit to nurse, we need to take nurses health seriously and this means at a national level, at a local level and as individual nurses. The fact of the matter is that we don’t have enough nurses so we should take care of the ones we have and support them to be fit and healthy”
Last year “expert hypnotist” Steve Miller said that overweight NHS staff should wear a ‘I’m fat, but I’m losing it’ badge.