The Importance of the Nurses’ Health Study
Much of what we know about health and disease today is because of the Nurses’ Health Study. Whether it is about the dangers of tobacco and trans fat to the benefits of physical activity and whole grains, everything we know is because some 250,000 nurses have participated in this study. The accuracy of their reports in health data since they started with the study in 1976 has helped researchers, and us, “advance medical knowledge about nutrition, exercise, cancer, heart disease, and many other conditions.” The insights on women’s health gained by this study has shown us how such things like diet, physical activity and other lifestyle factors can encourage better health.
Some of those in nurse scrubs and uniforms who have been enrolled years before are still part of the study and are encouraging their daughters and colleagues to become a part of the new health study which aims to recruit the next generation in order that the researchers can “understand how today’s lifestyle and environment affect a woman’s health in the future.”
The newest study is in need of 100,000 nurses and nursing students to join the long-running Nurses’ Health Study. So far almost 25,000 have already signed up and they will continue to recruit until they reach the goal of 100,000 nurse participants. One may wonder how important this Nurses’ Health Study 3 is and researchers have explained that time and lifestyles changes and we want to learn the long-term effects of these changes in the lives of nurses today – the effects of nutrition, hormones, environment, and nurses’ worklife on health. The past studies have significantly enhanced our understanding on how major diseases – cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and many more – can be prevented. Scientific breakthroughs will certainly be achieved with the help and participation of each healthcare personnel in nurse scrubs who joins the study.
In order to make it easier and more convenient for nurses and nursing students to participate, they can enroll and complete the study’s surveys online via their secure website. They can also learn more at the Facebook account or join here.
Here are some facts taken from their website.
You can enroll if you are:
- A nurse or nursing student
- Age 20-46 (you were born after January 1, 1965)
- Living in the United States or Canada
- Currently working, not working, or retired
- If you’re already participating in another study (including the Growing up Today Study/GUTS)–that’s okay! You can still participate in NHS3!
Nurses must have or be working towards one of the following certifications:
- Registered Nurse (RN)
- Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
- Vocational Nurses (LPN/LVN)
- Specialized RNs, such as Nurse Practitioners (NP), Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) or other RNs holding advance practice certifications/licensures (e.g. Certified Nurse Midwife)
- Nurses who have earned non-nursing health-related degrees (e.g. MD, DDS, PhD).
Some may ask why male nurses are not included in the study when they are nurses, too. The goal of the study is to increase the understanding of women’s health. Male nurses have their own equivalent study which was started in 1986. Those who want to participate in the study but are not eligible to join the study then they can help by encouraging those who are eligible to join and help by spreading the word about the study.