Seven third-year students in the nursing program at the University of New Brunswick Moncton campus have been working on a special health promotion initiative that has the potential to enhance the well-being of government employees in Moncton and across the province.

The Community Population Health project began in early September, in cooperation with Service New Brunswick (Moncton) and in partnership with Nova Scotia-based Creative Wellness Solutions.  Student nurses helped complete health risk assessments on more than 75 SNB employees in Moncton, as part of a larger province-wide project aimed at reducing health risks, including cardiovascular disease in government employees, and improving their overall wellness.  In addition to identifying major health issues for the organization, the nursing students completed a needs assessment process, including a gap analysis. They identified the priority need as that of a “Workplace Wellness Policy.”

The student nurses have subsequently drafted a comprehensive workplace wellness policy, which the Government of New Brunswick can begin to use in consultation with its employees.  Evidence-based research shows that when workplace wellness policies are in place and supported by management, benefits will include increased productivity at work, reduced absenteeism, decreased illness and improved morale.

“This tri-partnership between academia, the private sector and the provincial government is a win-win for everyone involved,” said Lowleen Coles, senior instructor with UNB’s Faculty of Nursing.

“A comprehensive workplace wellness policy will address both organizational and employee health, and is built on the premise that healthy employees create a healthy bottom line.  Government organizations like Service New Brunswick will reap the benefits of a more productive, engaged, and motivated workforce.”

The nursing students will present their draft Workplace Wellness Policy to SNB senior management and other government officials on Wednesday, Nov. 24.  The presentation takes place from 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon, in the Professional Arts Building, Room 212, on the UNB Moncton campus.  Dr. Lydia Makrides, of Creative Wellness Solutions, will also be in attendance.  Dr. Makrides is a leader in the development of health promotion, prevention and workplace wellness. She is the founder and president of Creative Wellness Solutions and is also the founder and director of the Atlantic Health and Wellness Institute Inc. in Halifax.

For more information, contact Jaymie Wilson at 506-875-3067 or Lowleen Coles at 506-856-3038.

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