Heartbeat analysis: CPD quiz

Life-long learning and continuing professional development (CPD) are the processes by which professionals, such as nurses, develop and improve their practice.

There are many ways to address your CPD: formally, by attending courses, study days and workshops; or informally, through private study and reflection.

Reading articles in professional journals is a good way of keeping up to date with what is going on in the field of practice, but reflecting on what you have learned from the articles is not always easy.

These questions are designed to help you identify what you have learned from studying the article. They will also help you to clarify what you can apply in practice, what you did not understand, and what you need to explore further.

1 According to the article, what does optimal work performance require?

a) Appropriate workload, clear policies and procedures and balanced diet and lifestyle

b) Clear policies and procedures, healthy working conditions and balanced diet and lifestyle

c) Appropriate workload, healthy working conditions and balanced diet and lifestyle

d) Appropriate workload, healthy working conditions with clear policies and procedures

2 What diseases does the NHS spend £750m on drugs to treat?

a) Cancer

b) Gynaecological problems

c) Musculoskeletal disorders

d) Lifestyle diseases

3 What bodily system response can stress increase the risk of affecting?

a) Neuroendocrine system

b) Musculoskeletal system

c) Cardio-vascular system

d) Reproductive system

4 What does HRV stand for?

a) High respiratory volume

b) Beat to beat variations in length of the RR intervals

c) Heart rate and ventilation

d) Human resources visit

5 Which of the following bodily functions does HRV analysis NOT give information on?

a) Oxygen uptake

b) Energy consumption

c) Ventilation

d) Urinary output

6 How does the article traditionally define ‘stress’?

a) The body’s way of responding to a challenging situation

b) Excessive workload

c) The process that arises where work demands of various types and combinations exceed the person’s capacity and capability to cope

d) The excesses of daily life

7 When does stress become a risk to health?

a) All stress is a health risk

b) When it lasts a long time without recovery

c) When it is work-related

d) Stress is not a health risk for most people

8 When does a person recover from stress?

a) When the circumstances allow it – ie, during sleep and times of relaxation

b) During evening social activities – ie, going to the pub

c) On days off when one is doing household chores etc.

d) When moved to a different job

9 Where and for how long does a heart beat monitor have to be worn?

a) On the wrist for one hour

b) Round the arm during the work shift

c) Round the chest for 24 hours or several days

d) On the wrist for 24 hours

10 For how many minutes’ moderate physical activity should adults undertake per week?

a) 30 minutes

b) 60 minutes

c) 100 minutes

d) 150 minutes


1. c – clear policies and procedures would also help employees with optimal work performance, but the text gives several points not including these. Consider what you think is necessary for optimal performance in day to day activities including work.

2. d

3. a – refresh your knowledge of the neuroendocrine system and explore some of the resources for more information on the topic and its relevance to stress.

4. b

5. d

6. a – explore the various definitions and meanings of ‘stress’. Discuss this with your colleagues, mentor or supervisor. Consider how this applies in your practice.

7. b

8. a – what can you do in your practice to encourage a healthy lifestyle in the workplace, and how would you evaluate your interventions?

9. d – in next month’s issue (September 2009) there is an article on walking for health. Make sure you read it so you can see how simple interventions may help people to achieve 150 minutes’ moderate physical activity a week.

10. d

Online resources on optimising work performance to help in your research and educational needs

The Health and Safety Executive website has a section that deals with stress. It offers an online discussion forum, an e-bulletin, research and statistics; case studies from organisations that have managed stress at work, and tools to download to help with the management of stress in the workplace.

Firstbeat Technologies is the company that developed the technology in the article. You can download the research articles from this site and undertake your own critique of the research.

The Department of Health website has information on the improvement of public health.

The Federal Government has issued its first ever Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. They describe the types and amounts of physical activity that offer substantial health benefits to Americans – and probably other people too.

The British Society for Neuroendocrinology exists to promote research into the interplay between the endocrine and nervous systems that control so many important body processes. The ultimate aim of this research is to provide therapies for the many neuroendocrine diseases and disorders, and to bring forward methods to beneficially regulate normal neuroendocrine function in humans and animals. You can download relevant research articles from this website.

Stress: The International Journal on the Biology of Stress This is a journal that deals with neuroendocrinology.

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