What the nursing process can teach you…A FIVE PART SERIES (continued)

healthy living waterfallI often wondered if the nursing process–assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation– could be applied to anything requiring a practical format for change.  If you have been following this series, I hope the answer is YES.  In my opinion, nursing contributes more to society than credited or realized.  My point in writing this series, is not only to illustrate how this process can help those outside the field, but to indelibly reflect the contribution nurses make in many ways–unsung and unnoticed.  Ok I’m done.

Prevention has always been a passion for me.  Witnessing first-hand the “afterthought” when it comes to illness, I now choose to utilize my skills in prevention.  Specifically–this means healthy living and fitness.

IMPLEMENTATION–the last stage before evaluation, and the “let’s get to it” after PLANNING, is my favorite part.  It all starts to take shape here and now.  Was my assessment correct?  What about my diagnosis of the situation?  Will my plan work?  Time to find out.

IMPLEMENTATION is indeed the “let’s get it done” phase.  It is also where plans can fall apart.

You PLAN to work out 3 times a week, for at least an hour.  You’ve made up your mind you will get up at 5:30am, go to the gym–or do that almost impossible looking DVD.  This is the commitment.   BUT–you over sleep on Monday; Tuesday you have an early commute, and Wednesday you awaken to a flat tire.  Thursday the baby sitter cancels, and Friday you are just too tired to think.  The weekend is here at last–maybe now, well maybe not.  Sound familiar? I know it does to me.  My intentions were good, but my follow-through was anything but.

I had the best excuses too.  I’m on my feet all day(that’s my workout), I have a young son, I don’t have mom or mom-in-law around to help, I’M JUST TOO TIRED.  These reasons were great–25lbs later, not so much.  What did I learn from all of this?  A PLAN IS JUST A PLAN, UNTIL IT BECOMES AN ACTIVITY.  Only then is it IMPLEMENTATION.

My solution?  For starters, I got a treadmill.  If I didn’t wake up early enough for the trail, there it was–staring me in the face.  Kind of like a neglected lover.   That impossible DVD?  Who said I had to do every minute of it?  Those on the DVD certainly took breaks.  Also, who said my workout had to be in the morning?  Yes, I was tired; some shifts were so hectic, there wasn’t time to go to the bathroom.  Yet I found if I went to the trail–even for a walk/run, it re-energized, yet calmed me down from a stressful day.  Paradoxical as it may sound–it’s true.  I was more patient with my son, and still had energy for the rest of my evening.

At first, the extra effort produced marginal returns.  However, I found a large part of IMPLEMENTATION, IS DETERMINATION.  That determination meant redesigning my plan.  It also may meant forfeiting one thing, in hopes of gaining (or losing) another.  How did this translate for me?  No workout equaled less food; and no sweet after dinner (this WAS a CHALLENGE).

What happened?  I saw results–some I expected, others I didn’t.  Yes, I lost the weight I wanted.  Yes, I had more energy, as well as patience at the end of the day.  So what were the unexpected consequences of this journey?  My son now 16, runs cross-country and track.  Once infatuated with White Castle cheeseburgers (he ate several at a sitting) he now refuses to eat any burger, more than twice a month.  He has exchanged doughnuts in the morning for yogurt or cereal bars.  He runs/works out 5 days a week.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  I’m not a chemistry or physics major, but I don’t have to be to know this.  I’m just a nurse, implementing her plan.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Questions? Comments?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com


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