Nurses Guide – Working in the healthcare field often means working long hours on your feet. The average nurse works 12-hour shifts while caring for 4 to 6 patients. The demands of long shifts require nurses to possess not only medical knowledge and skills but also maintain physical stamina and keep up with the emotional needs of their patients. If you work hectic shifts as a nurse, staying comfortable with the proper medical scrubs and taking care of yourself while attending to your patients is crucial. These tips can help you maintain long-lasting comfort and prevent fatigue-related on-the-job errors.
1. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Ensure you get adequate sleep to prevent daytime fatigue. Proper sleep also helps maintain alertness throughout the day, which is crucial in providing quality care to your patients. You can set up a peaceful and productive bedtime routine the night before your shift. Preparing your lunch and laying out your clothes can help establish a bedtime routine. Turn off all electronic devices, including cell phones, tablets, and televisions, at least an hour before bed. The blue light from these devices can interfere with melatonin production, making you unable to fall asleep faster.
If you work night shifts and need to sleep during the day, invest in blackout curtains and an eye mask to make your room as dark as possible. You could also use a white noise machine to drown out any sounds that could disturb your sleep. Listen to your body and do what suits your schedule and needs as you adapt to your new bedtime routine. Try including relaxing activities like taking a bath, journaling, or reading a calming book before you tuck into bed. Developing a soothing sleep routine can assist you in obtaining adequate sleep.
2. Pack Healthy Snacks and Stay Hydrated
The demands of patient care and potential emergency cases don’t always allow you to take a break when you want to as a nurse. You may not drink water or eat snacks if you are constantly on the go throughout your shift. Packing a healthy lunch, such as a chicken salad, with high-protein snacks and a water bottle, can help you stay active and energized. Snacks can include fresh fruit, nuts, hard-boiled eggs, and yogurt. Make sure to drink at least eight glasses of water daily, and keep an electrolyte supplement in your purse for days when you need additional hydration. If you need to energize yourself before you start your shift, buy a cup of your favorite coffee or tea.
3. Take Advantage of Breaks
When you go on your scheduled breaks during your shifts, the break room is a great place to recharge between work hours. A brief stretch or a chat with your colleagues in the break room can boost your energy levels.
If you need to recharge and unwind, try taking a quick stroll at your local park or around the block of your medical facility for fresh air and exercise. Treat yourself to lunch from a local restaurant once in a while. You may also find that meditating or listening to music that makes you happy can help you calm down when stressed. Taking a well-deserved break and relaxing can help you stay as comfortable as possible during your break.
4. Wear Good Shoes
If you are on your feet for most of the day, invest in a pair of nursing shoes. They are made with comfort in mind and can help nurses stand all day without foot pain or leg fatigue. They come in various styles and colors, so you can find one that goes with your style. You can find many brands and styles available, so it is essential to do your research before buying nursing shoes. A pair of quality shoes should have arch support to promote good posture and reduce the risk of back pain or repetitive strains. Additionally, you should ensure that your footwear provides the flexibility of movement you need while performing your tasks.
When choosing footwear for work, consider wearing orthopedic insoles. These help absorb shock and protect against plantar fasciitis, heel pain, and other common ailments from standing all day on hard surfaces. Invest in several pairs of moisture-wicking socks made from high-performance stretch knits to wear with your nursing shoes. Keep an extra pair in your nurse’s bag or locker so you can change them in the middle of an extra-long or double shift. These socks can help you with perspiration management to keep you cool and dry. If you prefer, wear compression socks or stockings to maintain vascular circulation and alleviate painful swelling in the legs and feet.
5. Invest in Quality Medical Wear
Buying comfortable, high-quality scrubs and layers can help you stay as comfortable as possible during your shifts. You want to ensure your women’s scrubs are breathable, soft, and won’t fade or tear after multiple washes. Look for high-quality fabrics like rayon or polyester blends that allow your body to breathe freely during long shifts. These fabrics keep you cool in warm environments while providing warmth during cold weather months when worn with other layers such as undershirts and jackets. Your scrubs should have enough stretch in the scrub arms and pant legs so you can bend and squat easily.
Also, look for the same qualities in your multifunctional lab coats. They should have numerous pockets for medical instruments, such as pens, alcohol wipes, and stethoscopes. Ensure your lab coat has vents to accommodate the changing temperature inside and outside your hospital. Research reputable scrub companies and read online customer reviews for the scrubs’ function and style. Consider buying several pairs of medical scrubs to wear during your shift so you can change easily if they become soiled or damp so you can remain comfortable all day.
Maintain Your Comfort Level During Your Shifts
Working as a nurse can be stressful and demanding, making it a problematic career if you don’t consider your health. However, you can prioritize your well-being at work with healthy lifestyle changes and suitable scrubs to help you avoid injury and strain on your body. These changes will not only improve your comfort but your coworkers and patients will also benefit, significantly impacting everyone around you.