The healthcare profession, especially nursing, makes up the highest portion of America's healthcare professions. It is the most demanding job. Nurses must be readily available emotionally, mentally, and physically in their 12-hour shifts.
They are responsible for taking care of patients, monitoring and administering their medications and infusions, keeping a record of patients' medical history, operating and monitoring medical equipment, and assisting in medical procedures. They come in direct contact with patients and are exposed to infections, as according to a survey, 41% of nurses reported experiencing high exposure to COVID-19. If they do not adopt a healthier lifestyle and stay informed about new nursing practices, their lives will be at risk.
To adopt a healthier lifestyle, nurses should follow the tips below. It will improve their performance in the long run and enhance workplace productivity.
1. Opt for flexible learning
Nurses are expected to stay up to date with the latest information to perform well. They must acquire knowledge, reskill, upskill and work on polishing soft skills such as leadership, communication, and observational skills to ensure success.
Taking courses or pursuing a master's in nursing allows nurses to develop a career beyond their current position. However, most nurses cannot continue their education physically because of time constraints and commute issues. One way to earn the certification while keeping your engagement and work schedule in mind is to enroll in an online nursing program.
Online programs for nursing allow you to upskill your knowledge and complete clinical hours at your workplace simultaneously. Recent studies indicate that a blend of in-person and distance learning can be pedagogically beneficial to nursing students.
2. Adopt healthy eating behaviors
A population health management conducted a study to develop the link between a healthy diet and productivity. They reported that employees with unhealthy eating behaviors were 66% more likely to experience a loss in productivity than those with a balanced diet. Therefore, nurses should take proper nutrients to improve performance and provide effective patient care.
Take a healthy diet of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Avoid taking processed food and fizzy drinks. Take supplements if required. Above all, drink a lot of water which keeps you fresh and active.
3. Exercise Regularly
A recent study indicated that employees who do not exercise are 96% more likely to experience a drop in productivity. Exercising helps in enhancing productivity by making you more active, increasing energy capacity, reducing fatigue and anxiety, and promoting mental well-being. The continuous 24 hours shift of nurses makes them tired and burns them out. Exercising on a regular basis can benefit nurses in improving their performance indicators.
4. Prioritize Sleep
A recent study revealed that 3 out of 5 nurses have difficulty having a sound sleep. Lack of adequate sleep makes a person lethargic, sensitive, and less engaging.
Nurse's job requires continuous interaction with patients with more physical and emotional involvement. Therefore, sleep deprivation inhibits nurses from efficiently performing the job role. To cater to this, nurses must follow a sleep schedule, which involves sleeping enough and waking up on time.
They can make the bedroom environment cozy, avoid caffeine, and remove distractions from the bedroom for better sleep. Following these practices, you'll sleep better and will wake up more relaxed and fresher.
5. Learn stress management techniques
Nurses have huge responsibilities, engage multiple patients, and assist in medical procedures. Without managing stress, nurses cannot perform well.
De-stressing can help them perform their duties in a better way. They can practice relaxation techniques such as taking a deep breath, yoga, talking to someone they love, or building a social network. Taking help is the best remedy to stressful situations.
Social support and isolation are considered an issue for nurses in the workplace. One way of dealing with it is to build an effective social network of professionals who can guide you and provide opportunities.
Engaging with other professionals facing similar issues helps you improve your performance. Join a nursing association and attend conferences to strengthen the social network. Offer support to colleagues and learn from them. Work collectively to achieve a bigger goal.
7. Quit Smoking
There is a reason why it is said that smoking is injurious to health. Smoking leads to various chronic diseases like cancer, heart and lung diseases, diabetes, tuberculosis, and bronchitis.
In addition, smoking reduces performance in the workplace. Smokers take longer breaks during work and have more sick leaves than non-smokers. It affects the physical endurance of workers deteriorating their mental and physical state.
Often people turn to smoking to cope with stress, especially those in high-pressure professions such as nursing. However, the effects can be counterproductive. If you are someone who can relate to this, it’s about time you gave up this harmful habit. When nurses practice safe habits, they set an example for patients who want to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
8. Take counseling
Counseling sessions help in having mental clarity with more focus on performance goals and provide emotional stability. Just speaking your heart out gives you relief and helps you to focus on positive things at the workplace.
Asking your manager for performance feedback helps you to analyze your strengths and weaknesses and take the necessary steps. At times, the issues are not that big, but one does not find the optimal way out. So, do not be afraid to ask for help.
Additionally, have a mentor to guide you at the workplace and over-achieve your performance goals.
A day in the life of a nurse requires both physical and emotional strength. Since nurses are responsible for administering patients' health, their performance impacts their careers and their patients' health.
They must focus on mental well-being by following relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga. A consistent sleep schedule gives them the energy to perform better throughout their shift. And a balanced diet, along with physical activity, promotes productivity.
In addition, acquiring knowledge and becoming proficient in new practices boosts career prospects. So, they must take concrete steps to improve their performance.