I had the opportunity to attend the Nurse Practitioner Associates for Continuing Education (NPACE) conference in Dana Point, May 1-4. I was especially thrilled this was held locally since NPACE is usually held on the East Coast, so I have never attended before.
The conference provided clinical information and updates that I am able to use in the courses I teach, including pathophysiology, community health nursing, and multidimensional (physical) assessment. I also am able to share the information for our MSN courses in Advanced Physical Assessment, Advanced Pathophysiology, and Advanced Pharmacology, as all these topics were covered and presented well.
The nurses I teach frequently request I review laboratory blood test results, so the in-depth review was especially helpful as I update the information I teach. In addition, the case studies and hands-on practice of advanced physical assessment techniques with the experts was excellent.
“STRESS PROOFING YOUR LIFE”
One of my favorite presentations was, “Stress Proofing Your Life,” by Dr. Mimi Secor. Dr Secor told her story of how she now practices “extreme self-care.” She began her journey while in her doctoral program and began to experience the negative consequences of stress. She began an exercise program that eventually led to her winning 5th place in a body-building contest this past November. She was 62 years old! She said, “exercise is the most under-utilized antidepressant,” and her new coping strategies for her stress has resulted in resilience, strength, and energy.
BUILDING NEW HABITS
She said, “habits account for 40% of our behaviors on any given day,” and “understanding how to build new habits (and how your current ones work) is essential for making progress in your health, your happiness, and your life in general.” Dr. Secor talked about how our patients finally change their health behaviors after something happens where the “pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change,” such as a heart attack or a cancer diagnosis. She encouraged everyone to start now, before experiencing the negative consequences of stress. She told us to start with a very small habit, like drinking a glass of water the first thing in the morning, or doing 10 minutes of exercise, and ramp up this new habit incrementally. Then divide it into doable pieces and keep a pace that is sustainable.
IT JUST TAKES TIME
Small gains lead to big changes over time. “It takes 21 days over six months to develop a new habit,” and the “habit is more important than the intensity.” So as faculty begin to relax and enjoy these summer months, I am hoping that each one of us can maximize our downtime and use this time to rejuvenate, and begin some good, healthy habits so we can increase our resilience and improve our health as we focus on preparing for the next school year.