Have you ever found yourself feeling tired, drained, or unwell due to your work environment? This can be an occupational hazard for nurses with an average of six hours of their day spent on a demanding job.
While you can’t prevent the potential for job-related fatigue, it is essential to minimize its effects on you.
The Impact of Stress on Your Health
Stress has been linked to a host of medical conditions and health issues. These can include heart disease, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal disorders, depression, memory loss, and many more.
A common cause of stress is looming deadlines, such as coursework deadlines when studying for your accelerated nursing program online or at university or if you are waiting for test results from a particularly challenging case.
The nurses who are committed to excellence and prepared for challenges at work actually experience less stress in their workplace because they know they can bounce back from bad days caused by an unexpected emergency or another stressor.
Preventing and Managing Illness at Work
The working environment for a nurse is inherently filled with stressors and health dangers.
While it’s an accepted part of the job that you may be exposed to things outside of the normal range of human exposure, there are still a few ways you can prevent yourself from being, or at least limit your chances of becoming, seriously ill.
To become a resilient nurse working in a healthy way, follow these tips:
1. Keep Your Hands Clean
One of the most common occupational hazards nurses face while working is developing an infection as a result of an undetected wound or skin condition.
To avoid this, you must practice proper hand hygiene by always washing your hands with soap and water before and after every patient contact.
This should also be done after returning home from work or when preparing food or touching anything in your house to prevent the spread of any viruses or bacteria in your home environment.
2. Plan Ahead
It’s important to plan ahead if you want to remain healthy at work.
The best way to do this is by staying up to date on the latest news and current events and keeping abreast of any major changes in real-world situations or protocols.
If you can’t predict what new issues may arise, plan to go and be trained on it.
3. Get Physical Exercise on Your To-Do List
If you have a hobby, it’s important to include physical activity as a part of your plan for a healthy lifestyle.
For instance, if you enjoy swimming, you should increase your swimming activity as well as perhaps take up a new sport, such as scuba diving.
You should also incorporate at least 30 minutes of exercise per day into your routine.
4. Eat a Healthy Diet and Get Plenty of Restful Sleep
While nutrition has been proven to benefit the brain and overall health and wellness, certain nutrients can affect your energy levels during the day.
Try to follow a healthy diet of carbohydrate foods and protein foods while staying away from high-fat food items, such as pizza or greasy fast food.
5. Wear the Correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
When working with patients who have a disease that requires the use of PPE such as masks, gloves, and goggles, it is important to make sure you are wearing the proper gear.
This means having gear that fits well and is comfortable, as well as making sure you inspect your gear for any potential flaws before working.
If you encounter a situation where something is wrong with your gear, it’s important to notify your superiors immediately so they can either replace your PPE or remove you from patient contact.
6. Use Good Hygiene and Sanitation
When working with patients, it’s important to make good use of sanitizing products.
This means using disinfectants and sanitizers on all non-intact skin areas and equipment that had contact with an infected area, as well as wearing gloves when handling certain instruments.
7. Stay Up to Date on Your Vaccines and Other Preventive Measures
Preventative care is essential to staying healthy at work.
In addition to regularly washing your hands, getting the recommended vaccines can help you avoid some illnesses and diseases.
For instance, if you are planning to travel internationally, it’s important to make sure your vaccinations are up to date.
8. Listen to Your Body and Seek Help If You Are Ill
It’s essential to listen to your body when you start feeling under the weather or unwell.
This means taking time out of your day for yourself and resting, as well as seeing a doctor if you are unable to determine what’s causing the issue.
If you feel that something is wrong with your body due to working conditions, see if there is anything you can do about it, such as getting additional training or wearing a different set of PPE that is more comfortable for you.
Fighting Fatigue at Work
Fatigue can be an occupational hazard for any nurse, especially those who are working long or odd hours.
Often, a draining shift will lead to a tired and overworked body that is less likely to effectively fight off illness and disease.
It is important to plan ahead to avoid fatigue while working.
This means making sure that you have a good routine with enough time built in after work to rest and relax before starting another full day.
The Importance of Sleep
The best way to fight fatigue while working is to make sure you are getting enough sleep and doing things at home to reduce stress and help with your overall health.
An excellent way to recover from the various sources of stress all around you is through making use of your time off, otherwise called vacation time.
If possible, consider going away for a weekend getaway or spending time in another city, state or country by taking an extended weekend or business trip.
This will help lower the stress level in your life and give you a chance to unwind from your hectic schedule as well as explore other cities with different cultures and experiences.