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Jennifer Grebow is editor-in-chief of Nutritional Outlook.
Pharmavite's Caring by Nature program has evolved into a program that offers numerous channels to help nurse practitioners bolster their health and wellness during the pandemic.
Nutrition industry professionals are taking stock of how they can help their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many other industries have found ways to assist others in this difficult time. Makers and sellers of dietary supplements have long had a mission, through their products, to help consumers fill nutrient gaps and stay well. It’s a role that remains critical at a time when staying healthy is of utmost concern.
We have seen industry companies find numerous ways to support their communities in recent months. Some have produced and donated hand sanitizer, such as Best Formulations, Califormulations, and Symrise did. Others, such as Jiaherb Inc., have donated personal protective equipment to those on the front lines. Still others have donated significant funds to help their communities who are in need of a wide range of relief, such as the nonprofit Dr. Majeed Foundation recently did in India, or Kyowa Hakko USA recently did in New York. These are just a few examples of how supplement companies have found ways to help.
Recently, the Pharmavite corporation announced a new initiative called Caring by Nature, which specifically focuses on helping nurse practitioners better care for themselves as they battle on the pandemic front line. In early March, even before nationwide lockdowns started, the company surveyed 350 nurse practitioners in the U.S. to determine how these workers were managing their own wellbeing.
“The original intent of the survey was to better understand what nurse practitioners prioritize in their health routines and what factors dictate their behaviors,” explains Alan McNamara, Pharmavite’s divisional vice president of corporate communications. “Once we conducted our survey, COVID-19 quickly came to the forefront and it was apparent we needed to lend our support beyond sharing the insights we gathered.”
The Caring by Nature program has evolved into a program that offers numerous channels to help nurse practitioners bolster their health and wellness during the pandemic. These include educational resources and interactive options such as virtual yoga classes led by professional instructors as well as free care packages containing products from Pharmavite’s Nature Made brand. These are “products designed to help support relaxation and stress-reduction,” McNamara says. Nurse practitioners can register via the following link to participate in the Caring by Nature program for free: http://www.jaanpresourcecenter.com/specialty/pharmavitenatmade.html.html.html.
Pharmavite also harnessed the partnership of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners to help drive the initiative’s exposure and extend its reach. “Similarly, we have partnered with select nurse practitioner social influencers to speak to the survey results as well as the yoga classes and care package offerings,” McNamara says.
Nurse practitioners are a group that needs this kind of support, especially in the high-stress and hazardous environment they now face due to COVID-19. One finding from Pharmavite’s survey is that nurse practitioners generally prioritize their health and wellness behind the needs of others.
“Our survey was fielded in early March at the start of the global pandemic. It’s no secret that healthcare professionals like nurse practitioners have always worked tirelessly for the greater good of their patients, but the results were eye-opening,” McNamara says. “Our survey found that nearly half (44%) of nurse practitioners reported being ‘too tired’ as the top reason preventing them from taking better care of themselves and their health.” In fact, 54% of respondents said that work commitments prevent them from taking better care of their health.
McNamara says this spurred the company to find a tangible way to support this group of healthcare workers. “Our key takeaway that nurse practitioners generally put the care and wellbeing of others above their own needs really struck a chord given the toll the pandemic was taking on both frontline healthcare workers and the healthcare system itself,” he says. “Rather than just raise awareness around this issue, we wanted to do something that might help them through this difficult time.”
One finding of the survey was that even as nurse practitioners push other personal health priorities to the side, one thing they do prioritize is the use of dietary supplements. The survey found 77% of respondents reporting routinely taking a vitamin and/or a dietary supplement daily, primarily citing immune system support and filling nutrient gaps as the main reasons. Says McNamara, “[D]espite their busy schedules, the majority of nurse practitioners reported that regularly takin vitamins or supplements is the last healthy habit to fall by the wayside, in comparison to other habits such as eating healthy or exercising. When you layer in the impact COVID-19 has had on our healthcare system, these findings are likely amplified.”
McNamara says Pharmavite is also “definitely open to expanding the reach of this program to other healthcare workers. Any future iterations of this program would be tailored to providing resources and supporting the needs of that specific group of healthcare workers.”
He adds: “Pharmavite has been a longtime supporter of the healthcare professional community by investing in education on nutrients for this vital group of individuals who are trusted sources of information for their patients.” By spreading the word and encouraging the use of dietary supplements, companies like Pharmavite are demonstrating to healthcare providers as well as the people those providers influence about how supplements can play a beneficial role in this difficult time. While supplements cannot in any way prevent, treat, or cure COVID-19, they can help consumers take care of their themselves at a time when everyone is worried about their health.