Q&A with Aila Accad, RN, MSN in Health Promotion and Wellness
BestNursingDegree.com interviews award-winning speaker and health promotion and wellness nurse Aila Accad, RN, MSN. Accad specializes in stress and wrote the best-selling book, 34 Instant Stress Busters: Quick Tips to De-Stress Fast with no Extra Time or Money. For more information, please visit www.ailaspeaks.com.
Below she shares her experiences in nursing and what it means to be in health promotion and wellness.
Q: What is your current position?
I'm a speaker, writer, author and well-being coach. And, I own my own business doing those things.
Q: What is health promotion and wellness?
Health promotion and wellness is helping people get well and stay well. It's really primary and secondary prevention - you're not waiting until people have a severe disease state before you start to help them. It's really helping people to learn the strategies for staying well and managing their chronic diseases.
Q: What was your background, and how did you become interested in this position?
When I was in my bachelor's program an instructor said that 85 percent of all disease and illness is due to stress. Well, my mind just clicked in at that point. I thought, "why don't we help people reduce their stress and that way they don't have to be sick." That got me excited, and I set off on a path to learn more and more about stress and how stress effects disease and illness. It took me from mental health into organizational health and employee assistance programs. I just kept learning more and more as I went along and got more excited about being able to help people in a genuine way.
Q: What should nurses seek from their educational experiences for this career?
I will tell you that according to the scope of practice that I operate under, having a bachelor's degree is the first level of professionalism. You can operate as an independent nursing professional at that bachelor's degree level.
It was in my master's program that I really got a better understanding of the theoretical frameworks, the nurse theorists that underpin my practice - that added another dimension. I think that the more education you have, sometimes the better, sometimes not. A bachelor's degree is a minimum and then moving into the master's and maybe even nurse practitioner. A bachelor's degree is the first level of professional independent practice with which you can have your own business. You don't have to be a nurse practitioner to do what I do.
Q: In your work in health promotion and wellness, what is an average day like?
My average day usually involves some kind of educational program. I may be doing a seminar or a workshop live. I could be hosting a tele-seminar or webinar. I could be writing articles and putting those online to educate the public. I'm frequently talking to my colleagues - other nurses - about health promotion and wellness. Also, I have a newsletter and all these social media kinds of things. On my Facebook page, I'll frequently post information for people about health, how to stay well, or the latest research in a particular area. I just did that this morning.
Q: What are the challenges you face in this career?
Well, the biggest challenge is if you're somebody who wants to get a job in a hospital, that's fine, but 97 percent of the population is not in an institution. They're really out in the public. You will either hook up with a clinic, or your work will be "non-traditional." It's going to be out in a different venue.
You might want to learn a little bit about becoming a businessperson. I learned that along the way. You might work in other kinds of venues [Short Code Error: type value must be either online or ground] future legislation as well. Legislators, just like everyone else, respect nursing. They know we're advocates for people, and we're not really just lining our own pockets. Get involved. That's my number one suggestion.