Nurses are supposed to look after their patients, assist them in their recovery and make sure that they are well. Unfortunately, during the process, it’s inevitable for nurses to compromise their own health. Before they know it, they are already coughing, running a low grade fever and feeling unwell. These things can greatly impact the way they deliver care.
As a nurse, here are 5 diseases that are very common in the profession. Read on to find out how you can best protect yourself.
1. Bladder infections
When you’re a woman, your chances of getting bladder infections are high. If you’re a nurse, they’re higher.
Working for 8 to 12 hours in a busy ward doesn’t just mean missing meals and being on your feet for most of the time. It also means missing bathroom breaks and holding your bladder for as long as you could. Or rushing your bathroom break just to get back to your anxious patient.
Unfortunately, delayed or incomplete emptying of bladder is one of the most common causes of urinary tract infections. It promotes bacterial growth and, when not addressed properly, can lead to a multitude of complications. Just think about the pathogens traveling all the way to your ureters and kidneys.
Preventing bladder and other types of urinary tract infections aren’t new to nurses. However, with their busy schedule, it sometimes becomes inevitable to break their own rules.
To make sure you don’t fall victim to this condition, make sure to take your bathroom breaks when you need to. Ask one of your co-nurses to look after your patients while you’re out and offer to do the same for them.
Don’t forget to drink enough water, too.
With stress, poor sleep and unhealthy eating habits, a lot of nurses are getting diagnosed with diabetes. So, if you find yourself feeling dizzy, thirsty or urinating more often, get your glucose level checked. This is particularly important when you know you have a family history of the condition.
If you’re found to have diabetes, it’s essential that you watch what you eat. Stick to a healthy, balanced diet and avoid going for long hours without eating anything. Reach out to your supervisors or your co-nurses so you can have more frequent breaks.
If you’re negative for diabetes, it won’t hurt if you change into a much healthier eating habits. In case you are overweight, try to safely and slowly lose weight to lower your risk. Ditch carbonated drinks and avoid eating too much sweets.
If you are feeling minor back problems or if you have had a recent trauma to the area, it’s a good idea to have a checkup. Minor back problems, when not addressed right away, can lead to bigger problems. Consult a physiotherapist to prevent complications and to get relief quickly.
When you’re attending to a handful of patients and you’re running a busy ward, the last thing you want to happen is to be unable to work fluidly just because of your back aches.
Lifting and turning patients can put too much strain on your back area, particularly if you’re not following proper lifting techniques. As much as possible, maintain good posture and be aware of your physical limitations. There are assistive devices you can use to make the lifting and turning a lot safer and easier. You can ask the help of your co-workers if you can’t physically handle the task.
There are also exercises you can do to relieve your back pains, too. Wall sits and hamstring stretches are great examples.
One of the most common infections nurses have to deal with involves sore throats. This is particularly uncomfortable, especially when you have to talk to your patients or you are dealing with a very noisy ward. Apart from that, there’s always the risk of transmitting the pathogens to your patients.
Always stay hydrated and eat foods that can boost your immune system.
To prevent your sore throat from worsening, ensure that you know exactly what you are dealing with. Although it’s tempting to take antibiotics right away, don’t do that unless you are sure that your sore throat is caused by bacteria.
And if it is due to bacteria, take antibiotics that are specific to the strain so you won’t put yourself at risk of developing antibiotic resistance. If coughing is an issue, take cough mixtures that won’t make you feel drowsy during your shift. Don’t take any medication if you are unsure. Being a nurse doesn’t give you any excuse to self-medicate.
Fatigue isn’t necessarily a disease but it can contribute to some if left unaddressed. Working on seemingly endless tasks in a busy hospital can easily tire out anyone.
This is particularly true for new nurses who are typically subjected to bullying. They are often pressured to take more shifts and work longer hours than they are supposed to.
Don’t be afraid to say no and make sure you know your limitations. Although nursing is a passionate profession, you still have to look after yourself. If you aren’t physically, mentally and emotionally well, you won’t be able to look after your patients. Worse, you might even compromise their safety.
Turn down shifts or take vacations if you have to. Take a rest and make sure you prioritize sleep over partying or going out. Pay attention to your diet and drink enough glasses of water to stay hydrated. These things will make it easier for your body to eliminate toxins and repair itself. The faster you recover from fatigue, the faster you can get back to your job.
Don’t deprive yourself of your much-needed break. Engage in a new hobby or find an activity you are really passionate about. Use them for relaxation and in relieving your stress at work. It doesn’t have to be an expensive activity. In fact, even keeping a gratitude journal can help you stay positive.