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Now nurse, how do you feel?

More than 70,000 Australian nurses are to be surveyed as part of a national project to discover more about the health and wellbeing of the 270,000-strong workforce.

The study will be funded by the Department of Health and Ageing, and will be carried out by Southern Cross University.

"The main aim is to put nurses' health in the spotlight," said joint principal researcher Kay Ross, a lecturer in the school of health and human sciences at the university. She will be joined by Dr Jennieffer Barr to shed light on this topic that, until now, has largely been overlooked as an area of study.

"Nurses on the whole are really good at looking after other people, but we are not so good at looking after ourselves," said Ross.

The issue of nurse health is fast attracting growing attention, with the average age of a nurse sitting at 45. And as the workforce ages, so too do health concerns.

"Nurses, like the Australian population are ageing and with that comes chronic illness," said Ross.

"Obesity and type 2 diabetes are two big ones that we really need to look at and address, and are the ones that we can do something about.

"I also think shift work and workload stress is impacting on nurses' health a lot."

Nutrition, physical activity and alcohol consumption are also going to be big issues according to Ross.

"If we can get nurses starting to think about their own health, as much as they think about everybody else's that's going to be a really good start. Once we get that, we will be able to come up with some strategies to look at what we can do differently to support nurses to be healthier."

Nurses are being urged to take part in the survey, which can be found at www.mynursesurvey.com.

The more that respond the better the information and results from the study.

At the two-week in stage, more than 1700 nurses had responded - with the survey open up until the end March.

"We want a lot more but it is very gratifying to know that many nurses have taken the time and the effort to do that for us," said Ross.

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