6 Tips to Stay Healthy as a Nurse
posted December 26th, 2013 by Tracy Keller
Nurses must take care of themselves in order to take care of others
You likely chose a nursing career because you’re a natural nurturer and like to take care of others. And, like many nurses, you are passionate about delivering a high level of quality care and treatment to your patients every day. However, there is one area of care where nurses often fall short – caring for yourself.
As the largest employee sector in health care, the overall health of our nurses is critical to maintaining efficient medical environments that promote quality care and effective treatment services. Taking care of yourself should be a top priority in order to be productive and happy on the job. Take a look at these tips to staying healthy as a nurse.
Registered nurses can sometimes fall into a career rut after several years on the job. While they’ve gained experience, they can lack the credentials needed to advance into mid-level or even senior health care roles. Nurses who are overlooked for management positions or a transfer into a specialized medical department for candidates with a bachelor’s degree or higher may get discouraged. Flex your mental health and do something good for you and your career by earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). RN to BSN online programs let you continue your education while on the job. Armed with this new credential, you will be ready to move your nursing career forward helping to improve your mental outlook.
You are busy from the moment you clock in for your shift until you update your last patient chart for the day. You might often find yourself eating out of convenience –grabbing a snack from the vending machine whenever you have a spare moment. That being said, you probably aren’t taking in the right balance of nutrients while on the job. However, the foods you eat are connected to how you feel throughout the day. Ensuring you maintain a balanced diet, even when on duty, can help power your day. Bring healthy snacks for when hunger strikes and choose foods high in protein, complex carbohydrates and low in sodium, refined fats and sugars. And, make sure you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day for added fuel for your work day.
The last thing you probably want to do is hit the gym after a long shift on your feet. And, you may have a million other things you need to do on your time off with working out not being one of them. It is important that you take the time to make exercise part of your routine. Regular exercise is important to strengthening and toning your entire body for a stronger, leaner you. Areas to target at the gym include your upper body, core and trunk muscles. Regular exercise can also give you added energy throughout your day making it easier to tackle those 14 hour shifts with a smile.
You are most likely not getting enough sleep throughout the day. Nursing can be a stressful job. Long hours and intense work conditions can have a toll on your stress levels causing you to lose sleep. But, sleep is just what you need to overcome a stressful day. Make sure you are getting an adequate night’s sleep every night. If you are scheduled to pull a 14 hour shift, use your breaks to take quick naps for much needed bursts of energy. And, make sure your bedroom is conducive for sleep. Use curtains or blinds to block out light, keep the television out of your room and bring calming aromas into your bedroom such as lavender, jasmine and chamomile.
A deep breath can cleanse your lungs and mind when you start to feel overwhelmed. It has also been show to boost energy and decrease stress. Whether you are on the job or at home, steal some moments to take in a deep breath.
Nursing is likely a big part of your life, and you may even consider it to be one of the defining things about yourself. Maintaining a healthy balance of work and a personal life is important in promoting emotional well-being. Make time for family, friends and yourself in order to reduce stress and promote overall satisfaction with your life.
Nurses know how to care for other people; however, they can lose sight of how to take care of themselves. Follow these tips to improve your overall wellness and live a healthy life.