Health and wellness, led by example

More than 80 RediClinic employees and their families lost a total of 700 lbs. while participating in a companywide competition modeled after its Weigh Forward weight-loss program.

Experience will make these providers better coaches for patients who sign up for the program. Aside from putting RediClinic in place to battle one of the most chronic conditions in America — obesity — it also is creating important bonds between patients and practitioners.

RediClinic already has a record of working with patients needing to improve their health on a personal level. In October, DSN Collaborative Care/Retail Clinician magazine recognized RediClinic nurse practitioner Kelly Longenberger at the annual CARE Awards for her work with the company, which included helping a patient who was 5 ft. 3 in. tall and weighed 230 pounds drop 40 points from her cholesterol and improve her kidney health. But it's also important for the employees themselves to set a good example for patients.

Just about every ad out there for weight-loss or other self-improvement products includes testimonials from people who have used them successfully, often with before-and-after photos. There's a good reason for this: If a potential customer sees the products working for others, then it's plausible they'll work for him too. RediClinic's Mission: Possible program serves the same purpose, getting healthcare workers to lead by example.

Hy-Vee, the Iowa-based supermarket-pharmacy chain, has done something similar, encouraging its employees to live healthy lifestyles while promoting healthy living among customers and being a key participant in Iowa's Healthiest State Initiative.

As people who are tasked with protecting the health of the public, nurse practitioners, pharmacists and others are in a prime position to speak on a personal level with patients trying to lose weight and stay healthy, especially if they have done it themselves.