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Top 5 Health and Safety Tips for Nurses

Nursing, while perhaps not equated with the same dangers as, say, construction sites or stunt driving, is still and inherently hazardous job. As every nurse well knows, it’s only a matter of time before you catch something when you’re tending to sick people all day. And yet, it is important for anyone working in the healthcare profession to maintain a high degree of health and safety in their job. You simply have to find ways to reconcile your own condition with the pathogens all around you. Of course, by the time most nurses actually get into an office or hospital setting they are well-versed in hand-washing and other health and safety techniques. But here are just a few more tips that should help to preserve your level of health when you make it your mission to aid the ailing.

  1. Wear protection. Perhaps the best way to avoid contracting any illnesses is to cover up as much as possible. There is a reason why most nurses wear a lab coat over their scrubs; it’s just one more layer of protection from bodily fluids or even caustic substances (common to hospital settings) they might come into contact with. In addition, you will probably be required to wear gloves during most procedures that call for physical contact with patients, and this is for the safety of all. But there may be cases where you want to take extra precautions by wearing goggles or some kind of face mask, depending on the situation. Better safe than sorry.
  2. Take your time. Nurses are a harried lot – they have a lot to do. As a result, it can be tempting to cut corners. But this can be detrimental not only to patients, but to nurses themselves. So no matter what you’re doing, whether you’re taking a temperature, delivering a shot, or talking to a patient about symptoms, make sure that you take the time to cross all your t’s and dot your i’s. It could mean the difference between life and death.
  3. Take a break. As a nurse you may be required to work long shifts, depending on your job setting, and if you fail to take regular breaks your chances of messing something up are increased. You not only hold the lives of patients in your hands, but abusing your body by going non-stop is going to catch up with you eventually. And in a high-stress job like nursing, it could lead to all kinds of health issues and safety concerns.
  4. Eat on schedule. Skipping meals may be par for the course when it comes to nursing, but if you fail to eat regularly, you do so at your own peril, and this neglect can definitely be detrimental to your health, not to mention your own safety and the safety of your patients. You need to be at the top of your game, and fueling up is a good way to ensure that you remain alert and focused.
  5. Ask for help with problem patients. As a nurse you may find yourself working alone frequently. But if you know that there is a patient who will give you trouble in one form or another, don’t hesitate to ask a coworker for assistance, and you can offer the same in return. Just because you have CNA certification or even a master’s in nursing sciences doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve been trained to deal with patients that have mental problems, substance abuse issues, or personality traits that make them difficult to deal with. So for your own health and safety, as well as that of your patient, ask for help so that the experience will be as quick and painless as possible for all involved.