The Call - Fall 2013 - (Page 16)

F E AT U R E HOW "WELL"THY IS YOUR 9-1-1 CENTER? By Jennifer VanderStelt, ENP, MBA A COMPREHENSIVE LOOK AT HEALTH AND WELLNESS IN THE 9-1-1 PROFESSION As 9-1-1 professionals, when we hear the words "health" and "wellness" many of us roll our eyes and cringe in anticipation of the soon-tofollow lecture regarding our weight, eating, and exercise habits (or lack thereof). While these factors are major contributors to our health and wellness, lack of knowledge and false perceptions of what health and wellness means may lead us to ignore other key factors that we are exposed to every day. It's time to widen the range of our perception and seek to educate ourselves and others. Let's start with asking, "What exactly is wellness?" and, "What can we do to achieve it?" According The University of Illinois McKinley Health Center, "Wellness is a state of optimal wellbeing that is oriented toward maximizing an individual's potential" (2011). Wellness is not merely being free of illness or injury; wellness is a complex set of elements that contribute to quality of life. These elements include, but are not limited to the following: * Emotional: Your ability to react and respond to intense and chaotic situations; the ability to feel compassion; the ability to be empathetic, and display and have feelings of trust, selfconfidence, and self-efficacy. * Intellectual: Your ability to make decisions, learn, and grow from experiences. 16 | THE CALL | FALL 2013 * Environmental: Your ability and motivation to maintain and preserve your environment. * Physical: Your body size, susceptibility to illness and disease, sensory acuity, and personal lifestyle behaviors. * Spiritual: Your personal belief system, values, purpose, and meaning in life. * Social: Your ability to establish and maintain inter-personal relationships, maintain objectivity, adapt to various and unique social situations, and appreciate and respect individual differences. Emotional and Intellectual Wellness All of these elements are significant to the wellness of those in the 9-1-1 profession; however, emotional wellness is a top element in job performance and personal development. The concept of burn-out has long been discussed among mental health professionals and even more so among those working in the 9 -1-1 field. More recently the psychological risks associated with the exposure to secondary trauma have been recognized as a serious problem industrywide. (See 9-1-1's Future: It All Comes Down to the Wellbeing of the Frontline 9-1-1 Pro by Jim Marshall, in this issue of The Call.) In addition, risk factors for susceptibility to illness are significantly greater for 9-1-1 professionals than in most other professions due the sedentary nature of the job for

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Call - Fall 2013

President’s Message
From the CEO
Government Affairs
Tech Trends
How “Well”thy is Your 9-1-1 Center?
Stress in the 9-1-1 Center
Don’t Stress Out — Reach Out
9-1-1’s Future
Index to Advertisers/

The Call - Fall 2013