Winter is a great time to take a nursing travel assignment. Hospitals often have a high census and winter activities, such as skiing and snowboarding, are in full swing. But one thing that can ruin a travel assignment quickly is getting sick. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to decrease your chances of getting sick this winter.
Practice What You Preach
You probably talk to your patients about the importance of taking good care of themselves. Now it’s time to follow your own advice. There are several things you can do to keep your immune system strong and decrease your chances of getting sick. Frequent handwashing is one of the easiest and most effective ways to stay healthy this winter. Wash your hands thoroughly and often. It’s also important to maintain a healthy diet and get regular exercise, which also gives your immune system a boost.
Some healthcare facilities require nurses and other healthcare providers to get an annual flu shot. Even if your facility does not require immunizations, you may want to consider getting a flu shot. As a travel nurse, you may encounter a flu outbreak. If you have any underlying respiratory conditions, such as asthma, you are also more likely to develop complications from the flu. When you get a flu shot, you not only protect yourself, but you help protect your patients as well.
Finds Ways to Relax
Although it may not be possible to eliminate all stress, too much can lower your immune system. Develop ways to unwind, such as going for a walk, practicing yoga, or listening to music. Finding ways to relax may not only help keep you healthy, but it will also improve your emotional well-being.
Make Sleep a Priority
Sleep deprivation can affect your immune system. When your body does not get enough sleep, it cannot fight off infection as efficiently, and you’re more likely to get sick. Getting enough sleep can sometimes be a challenge, especially if you work the night shift. Developing good sleep habits can help. Go to bed and wake up about the same time each night even on your days off. Limit caffeinated drinks several hours before bedtime. Make your bedroom sleep-friendly. Most people sleep sounder in a quiet, cool, dark environment. If you have difficulty sleeping, don’t ignore the problem. Talk with your doctor about possible solutions.
Use Proper Personal Protective Equipment
As a nurse, you may come in contact with patients with all types of contagious and infectious disease. Always use proper precautions when dealing with patients. Even if you think you will not have physical contact with a patient, use gowns, masks, and face shields when appropriate. Using proper personal protective equipment can prevent contracting an illness and also spreading it to other patients.
Hopefully, by taking the actions above, you can stay well this winter. Do you have any additional tips to share to prevent getting sick while on assignment? Share with us by commenting below.