You are not a superhero despite what some of your admins and managers have told you. If you don’t properly take care of your health how can you be a viable option to tend to the health of patients?
I understand the pivotal and indispensable role nurses play in patient care and the entirety of the healthcare system. However, the demanding nature and unhealthy working conditions causing nurses poor health, frequent burnout, and chronic back pain are placing the lives of their patients in jeopardy and ultimately their own lives share a similar fate.
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore evidence-based strategies to empower nurses to protect their health effectively to not only safeguard their well-being but also enhance their ability to provide optimal care for their patients.
Prioritize a Nutrient-Rich Diet
As nurses, you know the importance of regularly consuming nutrient-dense meals and properly fueling your body.
According to Harvard Health, a diet abundant in colorful fruits and vegetables can significantly enhance the immune response by supplying a range of phytochemicals and vitamins.
However, it is challenging to eat 3-to-4 protein-packed meals with fruits, veggies, and healthy fats on a consistent basis when you’re working 3-to-5 12-hour shifts a week.
A practical tip would be to strategically meal prep. This is one of the techniques I teach my nurses in my 8-week mobility program.
Finding one day out of the week to prep your meals in such a way that on the days you work; you can easily put them in the microwave on break and enjoy that meal. And on your off days, you can cook what you prepped in less than 15 minutes.
This will ensure your body is properly fueled up and not having to rely on fast food because you don’t have the time and energy to prep and cook a whole meal in one sitting.
Manage Stress Through Meticulously Structured Mobility Training
Chronic stress is an occupational hazard of being a nurse. The highly demanding and traumatic nature of nursing is no doubt a catalyst for high stress and anxiety.
One of the best and most feasible ways of reducing this stress is by routinely performing mobility training.
Very different from yoga and traditional stretching but numerous studies have linked properly practicing mobility training to reduced physical and mental tension.
Learning how to implement mobility training into your daily routine and even pre and post-shift can significantly, and oftentimes, completely eradicate workplace stress and anxiety.
Ensure Sufficient Sleep and Rest
Long and unpredictable work hours often disrupt nurses’ sleep patterns, leading to sleep deprivation, which can have serious consequences on immunity and cognitive function.
Establishing a consistent sleep schedule and creating a relaxing bedtime routine are essential steps to optimize sleep quality.
According to research from the National Sleep Foundation, adequate sleep is crucial for the body to produce and release cytokines, proteins that regulate immune responses and help fight off infections.
To practically enhance the quality of your sleep…
- Stop eating 1-to-2 hours prior to sleeping.
- Make sure the temperature of your room/house is pretty cold to allow you to hit REM sleep faster.
- Doing some light reading can induce a deeper and more rejuvenating sleep.
- Staying away from screens at least 30 minutes before bed.
- Limiting the number of daytime naps.
To wrap things up, practicing these efficacious approaches routinely can improve the health of nurses which in turn can advance patient care.
Because of the demanding and high-stress environment of healthcare, nurses must prioritize their well-being to continue delivering quality care to patients. Likewise, management implementing protocols to advance their nurse’s physical and mental health.
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No content on this site should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other licensed clinicians.
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