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Scottish study examines nurses' health and lifestyle

Edinburgh Napier University researchers investigate alcohol consumption, exercise habits and diet of nurses

A Scottish study is gathering information about thousands of nurses to determine the health and lifestyle challenges they face in their personal and professional lives. 

The Nurses’ Lives Research Programme at Edinburgh Napier University will focus on Scotland’s nurses, filtering results from census and government surveys, including the Scottish Health Survey and the Scottish Longitudinal Survey. It will also look at health-related behaviours including alcohol consumption, diet and exercise. 

Results are expected soon from the first area of research, which is concentrating on the prevalence of obesity among nurses compared with other healthcare workers.

Richard Kyle, a reader in Edinburgh Napier’s school of nursing, midwifery and social care, said: ‘I think the results there could be quite shocking and we have to handle it sensitively. We are keen to stress this isn’t about individuals or blame.

‘We expect nurses to be advocates for public health, yet we know sometimes some nurses don’t necessarily take their own advice. If we can better understand the nursing workforce we can better support the nursing workforce.’

The study will also analyse the 'Glasgow effect’ – to understand why health outcomes are poorer in the city than in other parts of Scotland.

Dr Kyle said: ‘We know Scotland’s health generally is poorer than the rest of Europe’s, but in Scotland there’s Glasgow – where, even after adjusting for socioeconomic status, gender and poverty – the health of the population there is still worse than elsewhere in Scotland. We are looking at the nursing workforce to try to understand that.’

 

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