Many nurses are very good at encouraging patients to follow a regular exercise routine and teaching ways to manage stress for optimal health. Do travel nurses take their own advice about healthy lifestyle behaviors though? Well, not always.
Having a travel nursing job often requires a lot of packing, road trips, moving from one city to the other, not to forget shifts which can include lifting and turning patients several times throughout the day. In addition, travel nurses are also caring for patients who have unique medical issues, and are making clinical decisions in potentially life-threatening situations.
- Stress management
A study published in the National Institute of Biotechnology Information investigated the effects of yoga on stress coping strategies of ICU nurses. After only 8 weeks of yoga, the results showed that the participating ICU nurses had significantly better coping strategies and a major reduction in perceived mental pressure. If that is what can happen after only 8 weeks, imagine the impact a regular, permanent yoga practice could have on stress management levels!
- Prevent or eliminate chronic low back pain
As a result of years of heavy lifting, many RN’s are suffering from chronic back problems. In fact, many suffer from chronic back pain throughout their careers! An evidenced based review at the Texas Women’s University reported that 50%-80% of nurses suffer from chronic back pain. Fortunately, the review also presented an overwhelming amount of studies that found that regular yoga significantly reduced symptoms associated with chronic low back pain and greatly improved overall physical health! Yoga can increase core muscle strength and prevent injuries such as chronic lower back pain. In a career as physically demanding as travel nursing, the more physically stable we are, the better care we can give to ourselves and our patients.
- Prevent burnout and compassion fatigue
Lack of self-care can easily result in burnout and compassion fatigue in the nursing profession. As much as I hate to admit it, even I have questioned how long I can continue with the immense workload and emotional drain that is required of me as a nurse. Thankfully, I have found a productive way to manage this is through yoga and meditation. A study published in Workplace Health & Safety on yoga for self-care and burnout prevention of nurses found that yoga participants reported “significantly higher self-care as well as less emotional exhaustion” after completing an 8-week yoga course.
Yoga is good for you!
Yoga is a productive way to prevent some of the most common health ailments among nurses. Empowering nurses in self-care helps to create a happier, healthier and more productive work environment.
Nurses serve as role models in the healthcare community, so we need to practice what we preach. No doubt trying out new dishes is exciting but travel nurses should also balance it out by strolling around a new neighborhood and always keeping a calm mind. After all, why would a patient listen to our advice on how to live a healthy life if we are not living one ourselves?
About the author: Sarah is a blogger at MotherNurseLove.com. She is a registered nurse at UCLA Medical Center, professional writer and mother. She lives in a beach suburb outside of Los Angeles with her husband, their two adorable babies and two rescue kittens. In a rare moment of free time, you may find Sarah practicing yoga, sampling crafts beers or attending a local concert venue. Visit her Instagram, Twitter and Facebook page.