Perspectives on implementing exercise bikes for use by inpatient mental health staff in the workplace: A qualitative study investigating staff attitudes

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Abstract

What is known on the subject?: Mental health nursing staff may experience psychological stress and burnout. Exercise provision for mental health staff may improve staff physical and mental wellbeing and mitigate against psychological burnout. Existing research suggests the provision of exercise equipment for mental health nursing staff may improve staff attitudes towards physical activity and staff confidence in motivating physical activity amongst patient groups they care for, although more research is needed, and research investigating the attitudes of mental health staff towards such initiatives is warranted. What this paper adds to existing knowledge?: Access to fitness facilities in the workplace for mental health staff was endorsed. Logistical and practical concerns (i.e. shower access, time) were noted as barriers to implementation of fitness facilities in the workplace for staff use. Mental health staff expressed desire to have access to varied gym equipment at work. What are the implications for practice?: The introduction of fitness facilities in the workplace environment for staff use was actively endorsed by mental health professionals, suggesting such initiatives may be warranted in mental health settings. However, barriers to successful implementation were noted and are worth considering in preparation for trialling provision of exercise equipment for staff use. Abstract: Introduction: Exercise equipment for mental health staff may improve staff wellbeing, mitigate against stress and improve staff attitudes towards physical activity. This said, there is a lack of researching investigating the attitudes of mental health staff towards the provision of fitness facilities in the workplace. Aim: The study investigated staff attitudes towards being offered exercise bikes in the workplace. Method: Three focus groups and one individual interview were conducted with 12 healthcare professionals. Data were subject to a thematic analysis. Results: Three themes were identified. (1) ‘This sounds like a good idea’, which reflected positive views in the provision of exercise in the workplace for staff use. (2) ‘I'm not sure it would work because …’, which reflected implementation concerns including not having access to shower facilities and time constraints. (3) ‘Balancing choice’, which reflected participant's desire to have access to varied gym equipment. Discussion: The introduction of fitness facilities in the workplace for staff use was endorsed. However, implementation barriers were noted. Implications for Practice: This research provides justification for the exploration of the feasibility and benefits of providing exercise equipment for mental health staff in the workplace but presents implementation barriers that are worth considering before trialling provision of exercise equipment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1027-1039
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
Volume30
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

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