3 Health and Well-being Tips for Graduate Nurses
Nurses play an integral role in healthcare however, due to various stressors such as long work schedules and challenging emotional situations, it is often easy for them to place the health of the patients before their own health. It is often the job of a nurse to act as a role model to patients and this elevates the importance of taking care of themselves as well.
Graduate nurses will often enter the profession eager to make a good impression and prove that they can do the job to a high standard but in doing so are likely to compromise their own health. Nurses are prone to encounter challenging situations and high levels of stress which can result in them overworking or underperforming, therefore it’s important for them to be aware of ways in which they can optimize their health.
1. Form Routines
Most nurses will work shift patterns that may change weekly or monthly and include night shifts or long hours making it hard for them to establish a consistent routine outside of work. A common outcome of these constant changes is sleep deprivation which can greatly increase stress levels and cause many of the physical symptoms related to stress.
If the time that you go to sleep and wake up is out of your control it’s important to make sure you are getting the right amount of sleep each night (or day) instead and just as important as the amount is the quality. Regular exercise and the right sleep environment can greatly improve sleep quality. You should also try to avoid using stimulants such as caffeine to combat symptoms associated with sleep deprivation.
2. Maintain Your Social Life
When you start work it’s easy to let the student social life you had whilst you were studying your MSN in nursing administration fly out the window. However, socialising and enjoying your time whilst you’re off duty is a great stress reliever and will ensure you feel invigorated and energized when you return to work. However, if you find yourself socialising with colleagues or other graduate nurses, try not to bring up the subject of work because if the conversation turns negative then no one is likely to benefit from the break.
It’s also a good idea to have some ‘me time’ and indulge in your hobbies especially as research suggests having a minimum of 20 minutes leisure activity a week can decrease the level of fatigue. If you don’t have a hobby then there’s no time like the present to find yourself one; from joining a gym class to taking up painting, anything that allows you to switch off your brain for a while will be beneficial.
3. Eat Regularly
When we have a hectic, demanding schedule it’s easy to forget about food until we’re absolutely starving and about to collapse on the floor but obviously, this really isn’t healthy. You might not have been very good at maintaining a healthy diet whilst you were studying your online RN to MSN but that doesn’t mean the bad habits should continue into your working life too. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day as it provides us with a source of energy, and if you haven’t got time for a lunch break ensure that you have regular small snacks at routine times throughout the day instead.
The most important thing to remember is that you are in charge of your own health and well-being as well as that of your patients. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will put you in a better position to be an advocate and teach your patients the tips and tricks to staying healthy.