Tips for staying safe while working a nursing shift

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Nurses are known to work some of the longest shifts in any industry. Not only is it a demanding profession, but it's one that requires a high level of patient-facing tasks, which can be tiring.

Staying as safe and comfortable as possible will make the shift more pleasant. After all, the work that nurses do is essential to the overall operations of a hospital. From working closely with doctors, to figuring out the best treatment plans, to ensuring that patients are comfortable and happy, nurses are usually the first point of contact between patients and physicians. 

Working a demanding job
In the past, nurses worked under the guidance of doctors and administered treatments per their instructions. Nowadays, there are multiple degrees that nurses can earn, some of which allow them to diagnose conditions and prescribe medications. The line between nurses and doctors is becoming blurrier as time goes on, underscoring the importance of their role in the medical world.

Additionally, nurses work with and around many potentially dangerous substances and items. From biohazardous materials to sharp instruments, nurses have to be careful and vigilant. Here are four guidelines to keep in mind while working.

1. Dress comfortably: This may seem elementary, but being comfortable might be overlooked when you work such long shifts. While you might think that you don't have many choices in terms of scrubs, don't be fooled. There are plenty of designs, patterns and fits that will speak to your style and comfort. Next, look for slip-resistant shoes that provide plenty of support for long shifts and will help keep you safe. After all, there may be many slip hazards at the hospital, from constantly washed floors to spills. 

2. Be vigilant: Attention to detail is an important aspect of nursing. You have to take and write down the vitals of patients. Additionally, if you're a nurse who's certified to diagnose conditions and prescribe medications, you have to know the ins and outs of medicine. This same mentality needs to be applied to routine tasks around the workplace. You likely handle needles and other sharp tools on a daily basis. You also need to be aware of your surroundings at all times. 

3. Tend to your own health: Providing the best care for patients requires nurses to care for their own well-being first. A nurse who hasn't gotten enough sleep or is feeling ill won't provide the same level of care as he or she would when well-rested and healthy. Time may be difficult to come by, so if you're having trouble figuring out how to prioritize your own health first, speak to other fellow nurses about how to ensure your well-being in order to tend to that of patients.

4. Lift carefully: You may have to lift a variety of things at work, from hospital-related items to helping move patients from one bed to another. As you know, lifting with your legs instead of your back is best practice, but what about when you have to transfer a patient and there's little to no vertical movement involved? In these cases, speaking to physical therapists about the safest ways to do this will ensure that you don't injure yourself.

As the responsibilities of nurses may be changing and growing, their value in the health care industry continues to increase. Recognize how vital you are in the workforce and stay safe!

Brought to you by Shoes For Crews, the trusted leader in safety footwear to health care employees for more than 30 years.

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