Nurse Brings Wellness Resources to Railroad Employees, Families

Rosemary Delarosa, RN, CCM: Occupational Health Nurse, El Paso, Texas
img_sustain_delarosa"Occupational health nursing is a specialized field of professional nursing. My work encompasses a broad spectrum of services from providing employees initial care and treatment to offering guidance on health-related issues, with a focus on wellness and health promotion.

"I’ve developed partnerships with employees and managers to help us all become better healthcare consumers. Part of my job is identifying what employees need to be healthy and then finding opportunities to make those wellness resources available to them. Hosting health fairs and booths during service unit family days and other railroad events, as well as community health expert visits, are now part of our business culture.

"I’m thrilled to see a great deal of interest and energy put toward living healthier from not just our employees, but also their families. Participation in health programs, such as SHIP II, increased 300 percent in my territory last year. Our flu shot program also continues to reach more employees and family members.

"I’m headquartered in El Paso, Texas, but cover a large territory, which makes it challenging to be physically accessible to everyone. I tell employees I’m only a phone call away, and I take calls around the clock.

"It is extremely rewarding to positively impact my co-workers and their health. My success was truly evident when an employee came to me and said, “I’m glad you’re here. You’ve made a difference in my health and how I feel.”

We encourage employees to “Take Charge. Feel Better. Live More.” Since our wellness program launched more than a quarter-century ago, we have expanded the number of tools available to help our employees make healthy choices and proactively address mental and physical health concerns.

Our efforts include:

  • Wellness Portal. A wellness portal on our company intranet site allows employees to take a wellness assessment, set goals, build plans and track their progress.
  • Health Coaching. We offer personalized health coaching to all employees and spouses for health risks including stress, depression, smoking, diabetes, nutrition and weight management.
  • Occupational Health Nurses. More than 40 occupational health nurses are available in field locations. These nurses are equipped with special training on railroad culture and safety to serve as trusted resources for health and wellness.
  • System Health Injury Protocol II (SHIP II). Offered to employees at risk for injury due to lower fitness levels, this program pairs employees with personal trainers to improve overall wellness. In 2012, participation increased by 25 percent.
  • System Health Facilities. We make fitness facilities available across our network to employees free of charge. Union Pacific has more than 34,500 employees enrolled in more than 2,800 contracted fitness facilities or the on-site Health and Fitness Center at our headquarters.
  • Employee Assistance Program. Short-term counseling, guidance and referral services are available to employees and their families.
  • Peer Support. A team of more than 1,000 employee volunteers is trained to support fellow employees and their families through physical, psychological or emotional stress.
  • Tobacco Cessation. Union Pacific supports a smoke-free work environment. We offer a tobacco cessation program that pairs lifestyle coaching and pharmacological assistance for those trying to quit.
  • Annual Health Wealth Expo. Every year, approximately 2,000 employees take this opportunity to meet with benefit plan providers and learn from health experts. The expo includes seminars, free health screenings, flu shots and a farmers’ market. It is open to both employees and their spouses.
  • Friend to Friend Network. Financial assistance is available to active or retired railroaders and their immediate families who have suffered a health or dwelling-related tragedy. This nonprofit, voluntary employee-driven organization helps an average of 700 families every year.

In 2012, Union Pacific celebrated 25 Years of Wellness by awarding the first annual B.W. Schaefer Individual Wellness Award. This award was developed to recognize an employee who demonstrates a personal commitment to wellness, is a role model and leader, and who promotes a healthy culture at work, home and within the community.