Libby Lomas offers some practical insights into the sort of health promotion that can work with men in a large urban hospital.
Nottingham City Hospital is a large acute teaching hospital employing 6000 staff. The health and well being of staff forms an integral part of the overall human resource strategic approach in ensuring the delivery of effective and efficient hospital services. Since 1990 the hospital has employed a Health Promotion Co ordinator to specifically address proactive and preventative staff health issues.
In more recent years the Staff Health Promotion Service has highlighted the need to address men’s health, specifically the health of non-medical and non-nursing staff with an emphasis on those employed within the lower income brackets. The original dearth of information regarding what health interests these men held and how they would like services organised for them, led to an initial survey being undertaken (Lomas, 2003).
The information gathered from this was then used to organise a number of health initiatives for targeted groups of male staff throughout the hospital. One initiative in particular pulled together a number of key components that had been identified in the original survey findings. This resulted in a blood pressure initiative being undertaken in the workplace location, on a one to one basis with a female occupational health nurse. The justification for this was therefore as follows:
Blood pressure: results showed heart health was one of the most popular subject areas.
Workplace location: this was the area considered to be the most ‘comfortable’ and would enable good attendance
One to one intervention: Favoured by the men as the best way to deliver health information
Female Occupational Health Nurse: B/P screening was felt to be non invasive and would not cause embarrassment if it were undertaken by a female health professional
There remains a considerable lack of evidence-based practice in respect of health interventions undertaken for men. It was therefore decided that the blood pressure study as mentioned above should be comprehensively evaluated. A qualitative evaluation study was therefore undertaken in conjunction with the University of Nottingham. The study sought to determine the thoughts, feelings and perceptions that the men held in respect of the blood pressure initiative that had been conducted in their own work locations. The findings of this study (Lomas L., McLuskey J., 2005) demonstrate favourable results in respect of the way in which the initiative was undertaken, the health outcomes generated and the further service improvements identified.
- Lomas L., (2003) Men at Work, Men’s Health Journal, Vol. 2, No. 1, 4-5
- Lomas L., McLuskey J., (2005) Pumping up the Pressure: A qualitative evaluation study of a workplace health promotion initiative, Health Education Journal ("in press")
Libby Lomas is Health Promotion Co-ordinator for Nottingham City Hospital NHS Trust