In recent years, the nursing profession has garnered a lot of its due attention and respect. People have started to understand the irreplaceable role they serve.
Nurses know the ins and outs of taking care of patients and assist doctors in providing them with the best care and facilities. Working around the clock in long, arduous shifts isn’t everyone’s cup of tea; thus, nursing is an equally demanding job as a doctor, contrary to what some people believe.
Since nurses take care of the most precious possession of a person, their health, it is also important that the nurses themselves remain healthy and fit while working in a healthcare setting.
Let’s look at four important ways nurses can keep themselves healthy while working in such a mentally and physically draining profession.
1. Prioritize mental health
Being around the ill and grieving takes a toll on one’s mental health. Nurses are no exception either. Their mental health is neglected once they start to prioritize their patients 24/7.
Having a hobby, you can bring to your workplace without jeopardizing your duties is a great solution to this predicament. This could be reading, journaling, listening to music, or video calling friends and family.
If you’d like to hit the textbooks and study for a postgraduate, you can enroll in online MSN programs. These won’t require you to quit your job, and you can use the spare time in your work schedule to make study notes or watch pre-recorded lectures.
In short, stave off the monotony of work by keeping yourself engaged in productive and lucrative activities.
If you need additional support from a group of like-minded people, consider joining an online or in-person group of nurses with whom you can share your worries and experiences.
It is better than bottling up negative emotions or insecurities regarding a terrible boss or workplace culture. Or, if this doesn’t work out for you, a visit to a psychologist once in a while can give you professional support and guidance.
A typical 12-hour day shift for a nurse involves vigorous use of their muscles. Lifting patients into and out of their beds, adjusting their equipment, taking notes, handling records, and transferring hefty machinery from one room to another are some laborious tasks that nurses have to carry responsibly and promptly.
With prolonged exertion, their muscles become sore and swollen, hindering their performance and speed at work.
The persistent pain also hampers their judgment, and mishaps could lead to potentially fatal mistakes when handling patients. This could exacerbate chronic musculoskeletal disorders such as back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, migraine, etc., and cost them early retirement.
We recommended incorporating a short workout regime into their daily schedule.
Remember that this workout doesn’t have to be extravagant or take up a substantial amount of your time. It could even be a simple 10-minute walk or a warm-up before the start of the day’s work- anything feasible and gives the muscles a healthy flex.
Due to close contact with patients daily, nurses are a hundred times more susceptible to an infection or fatal disease.
To mitigate the spread of infection and to remain healthy and fit, nurses should:
- Adorn clothing that protects them from scratches and abrasions
- Have any wounds or cuts instantly wrapped up or treated
- Disinfect their workplace and frequently used items such as keyboards, notepads, and mobiles
- Carry a hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes
- Wear face masks and gloves near patients
- Wash hands frequently
- Be vaccinated against prevalent contagious diseases
Nurses must equip themselves with proper gear and equipment to handle the corrosive or irritant substances and any sharp tools or syringes.
Sleep deprivation is very costly when working in a sensitive setup such as a hospital. Here, the staff must keep their wits about them every second of their shift. It becomes more difficult when nurses are on night shifts, and their sleeping schedules get disturbed.
A lack of rest slows down their reflex actions and results in a poor work ethic. When nurses become prone to making mistakes, they put their job on the line and the lives of many patients.
Fitting in 15-20 minute naps during your break time, instead of mindless scrolling on the internet, can help counter lethargy.
Moreover, to prevent annoying neck cramps and backaches from makeshift resting rooms, bring a comfortable neck pillow to work.
If drowsiness still doesn’t evade you, don’t try taking too many caffeinated drinks and munching on junk food to keep yourself awake. Try healthier substitutes such as fruit smoothies, herbal tea, etc., to do the trick. They’ll reduce the risk of deficiency diseases and keep you refreshed and rejuvenated every day.
In a nutshell
Being a nurse is hectic task. You must always be on your toes, so it is important to take care of your health to perform well on duty. A healthy diet, ample rest, good hygiene practices, and exercise are mandatory in your daily schedule to ensure you take care of yourself.
Hope this article is of help to you.
Read also: The Making of an Excellent Nurse: Tips to Make it to the Top