Staying healthy as a nurse is a high priority in order to deliver the best level of patient care. Lack of sleep, spending time around sick individuals, and tough schedules pose challenges to clinicians’ health, so it’s of the utmost importance to make sure you’re taking care of yourself to stay healthy. We asked some Premier nurses their favorite ways to stay healthy at work so you can follow in their footsteps and be the best version of yourself for your patients every day.
Drinking enough water is key to staying healthy as a nurse. One of the best ways to stay hydrated is to find a reusable water bottle you love and make it your shift sidekick. It’s great for you and the environment, as you’re saving tons of plastic from entering landfills (yay for eco-friendly RNs)! People who carry reusable water bottles are more likely to stay hydrated. Staying hydrated can elevate your cognitive and physical health by improving your focus and digestion, minimizing headaches, speeding up muscle recovery, and boosting your immune system. If you struggle with your water intake, check out this piece of advice from Premier Med-Surg RN, Steven K.: “I pack 3 bottles of water, each with a different Crystal Light flavor. I’ve never been a big water drinker, so this is how I’m making sure I stay hydrated on shift!”
Movement is Magic
Incorporating meaningful movement before or after work is a fantastic method of staying healthy as a nurse. Research indicates that exercise improves mental health as well as boosts memory and focus, which is extremely helpful for nurses in the field. Finding an exercise group or class is a great way to stay accountable and build friendships while getting a good workout. Premier Med-Surg RN Michelle M. says, “I ballroom dance. I do lessons about twice a week.” Jenny J., OR RN adds, “my hobby outside of work is bodybuilding. I strength train 4 times a week.” If you are interested in trying workout classes for a discount, many nurses use ClassPass to get access to gyms and fitness courses without an expensive membership. Your local community may also offer rec sports that you can join as well!
Use Hygienic Best Practices (At Home, Too)
The hospital or clinic isn’t the only place you should be on top of your hygiene game. Practicing good hand washing and keeping a clean space is key to fighting colds and bugs that go around. Kaylee P., Clinic RN says, “I make sure I use good hand hygiene, wear masks when seeing known sick patients, and try to get some fresh air every day!” Some tips for fighting off germs at home are: regularly disinfecting high-touch surfaces, washing hands before sharing snacks, and cleaning your bathroom and kitchen thoroughly once a week.
Get Proper Nutrition
Proper nutrition is super important to staying healthy as a nurse. By maintaining healthy habits with a nutrient-rich diet, you will not only perform better as a nurse but also be more productive in your off time. While working a shift, it might seem easier to indulge in a sugary sweet treat for a pick-me-up, but try opting for a more nutritional snack like a granola bar or carrots and hummus. Creating healthy eating habits can continue to be something you carry throughout your career as a nurse. Felisha R., Premier OR RN warns, “stay away from greasy foods,” as they can often make you feel sluggish or less focused after eating. For some great tips on eating healthfully as a contract nurse, check out our blog post here!
Take a Break!
One of the best practices of staying healthy as a nurse is to be on top of your R&R. We know that being a nurse is just one part of your full and busy lives, so being mindful of when you need to slow down is important to avoiding burnout. Dawn S., an L&D nurse with Premier notes, “I have 4 kids, a dog, a busy household, full time job, and an aging mother. I try to vacation as often as possible.” Scheduling a relaxing vacation, or even “staycation,” is a great way to give yourself something to look forward to when the days feel long and tough. Optimize your days off to include plenty of rest, even if that just looks like binging Netflix on the couch!