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Readers panel: Should weight problems be raised as part of a nurse’s annual appraisal?

The Healthy Weight Initiative for Nurses, a collaboration between several organisations including London South Bank University and the RCN, says discussions about weight problems could be included in the annual appraisal. Nursing Standard readers have their say. 

The Healthy Weight Initiative for Nurses, a collaboration between several organisations including London South Bank University and the RCN, says discussions about weight problems could be included in the annual appraisal. Nursing Standard readers have their say

Beverley Ramdeen is a senior nursing lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire @BeverleyRamdeen

Discussions about weight will always be sensitive, but we cannot ignore the fact that obesity is a growing problem in nursing. However, this should be addressed by managers as part of an ongoing interest in the well-being of their staff, not as part of the annual appraisal. Employers also need to offer solutions. Well-being clinics for nurses, where they can discuss all aspects of health, not just obesity, would be a good start.

Linda Drake is a practice

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The Healthy Weight Initiative for Nurses, a collaboration between several organisations including London South Bank University and the RCN, says discussions about weight problems could be included in the annual appraisal. Nursing Standard readers have their say


Should weight be discussed in nurses’ annual appraisals? Picture: iStock

Beverley Ramdeen is a senior nursing lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire 
@BeverleyRamdeen

Discussions about weight will always be sensitive, but we cannot ignore the fact that obesity is a growing problem in nursing. However, this should be addressed by managers as part of an ongoing interest in the well-being of their staff, not as part of the annual appraisal. Employers also need to offer solutions. Well-being clinics for nurses, where they can discuss all aspects of health, not just obesity, would be a good start. 

 

Linda Drake is a practice nurse in south London 

Unless a nurse is so significantly underweight or overweight that they cannot do their job, there is no place for a discussion about a nurse’s body shape in an appraisal. It is not lack of information that leads to nurses’ weight problems, rather the lack of motivation to lead healthy lifestyles when they are exhausted and demoralised by the conditions in which they work. Any discussion around weight-related issues is disingenuous if employers do not put measures in place to help. 

 

Steve Flatt is director of the Psychological Therapies Unit in Liverpool 

flatt
The big question here is ‘fit for purpose?’. Some years ago, I was in hospital following an injury that required surgery and a cast. The nurse who came on shift one evening was so obese she could not carry out any lifting, and I had to help the other patients as she was unable to. It is incumbent on employers to ensure that staff are fit for purpose, and on employees to maintain their physical health so they are able to do their job.

 

Drew Payne is a community staff nurse in north London 
@drew_london

Appraisals are for professional development, not fat shaming. It is hard enough to get the time and space to have a beneficial appraisal – which is necessary for professional development and quality patient care – without it being high-jacked by issues such as this. Nurses’ health is an important issue, but this is not the way to tackle it. Employers need to start addressing the issues that are affecting nurses' health and well-being: unhealthy working environments, high workloads and poor staffing levels.


Readers panel members give their views in a personal capacity only

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