Be careful and avoid getting hurt during your shift!
1. Moving patients in a bed.
Whether we are rolling a patient, moving them up in a bed, or transferring them from one bed to another, there is ample opportunity to hurt ourselves when we move a patient in a bed. Using all the appropriate equipment in the world (if it’s even available) will not save our backs… the repetitive process of moving a patient will injure us over time.
2. Bending over.
In nursing school, they drilled it into our heads to always elevate the height of the bed if we need to bend over. Unfortunately, there is no option for elevating a baby’s crib or a bedside chair, and we are often bending over to pick things up off of the floor. Again, the repetitive bending will eventually damage some part of our bodies.
3. Not eating regular meals at regular times.
We teach our patients to eat 5-6 small meals a day, but I don’t know a single nurse that listens to this advice while at work. The consequence: being overweight, diabetic, or just plain hungry all the time.
4. Not taking bathroom breaks.
Most nurses do not even notice when they have to go to the bathroom any more. Because we no longer even think about it, and we’ve been buffered from the tell-tale signs of needing to “go”, most of us can go a full shift only going to the bathroom one time.
5. Not drinking enough water.
This also contributes to our bathroom issues. It’s easy to go all day without going to the bathroom if we aren’t drinking any water. Most of us live off of energy drinks, diet sodas, and coffee. Not exactly the best drinks to keep a person hydrated!
6. Overmedicating or undermedicating ourselves.
Nurses fall into two categories: those that overmedicate themselves with Motrin or Tylenol and those that think they have to be dying to take something for pain. Personally, I’m surprised I don’t have a hole in my stomach. I pop 800mg of Motrin like it’s candy.
7. Transporting patients.
Whether we’re moving our patients in a bed, or wheeling through the halls in a wheelchair, transporting patients is hard on our bodies. Beds are heavy to maneuver and we’re slightly bent over if we’re wheeling a patient. Neither is ideal for our backs.
8. Not seeking attention for stressful events.
Because no one really knows what we do and what we see, it’s not often we get to talk about the stressful events we’re witness to. That can easily take a toll on our mental health. Many hospitals do not have debriefing protocols or support services for nurses after an adverse event. We carry a lot of weight on our shoulders.
9. Not taking time to work out.
Not many of us feel like waking up extra early to work out, and there’s only one thing I feel like doing after working 12 hours… it involves limes and salt on a rim! Working out is the last thing most of us want to do after working, and on our days off we’re exhausted. It’s a bad combination.