When you’re working in a hospital or any healthcare facility, keeping yourself healthy, active and energetic should be a priority. Whether you’re a medical imaging tech, travel nurse, travel physical therapist or any other healthcare professional, in the midst of taking care of others we often forget about ourselves. Let’s face it – there are countless of times when we lift patients using the wrong muscles, skip lunch breaks and wear shoes that aren’t best for being on our feet all day.
Cirrus Medical Staffing asked a few physical therapists to share a tip or two on how we all can stay healthy during our daily activities while providing the highest quality of care:
- Wash your hands frequently.
The most basic infection control tip – remind yourself to sanitize your hands. After touching the bed, bedside tables, remote controls or phones, you’ll come in contact with lots of different bacteria and other germs. Washing your hands is the best way to stop them from spreading. This won’t only prevent you from catching any healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) but it will also protect your patients.
- Cook nutritious meals in the evenings.
Skip the grumbling tummy during late afternoons and have a quick bite to lighten up your mood. Having a well-balanced diet is vital for your body to function properly, so it may be time to say goodbye to the vending machine. Spend a few minutes to prepare quick meals the night before, grab it the next morning and off to work you go. You can try salad in a jar, zucchini noodles, lemon chicken pasta or rice bowls. Bringing your lunch is a smart way to save money, too!
This tip is all about your emotional well-being. Every day, take a 5-minute break to dance in the break room or at home, with or without your favorite music. Here’s a fun fact: dancing replaces stress-hormones with pleasure hormones like endorphins and serotonin.
- Promote getting a flu shot.
As a healthcare professional, you are the last person who has to be convinced to get a flu shot – you know the risks that contracting influenza poses to yourself and others, so it’s our duty to raise awareness on its importance.
- Use the right body mechanics.
Depending on your responsibilities, clinicians may have duties that will require them to bend, push, and carry heavy equipment and patients. This is when you face the risk of stretching a muscle or worse. Apply correct lifting techniques to protect your back, neck and shoulders. Don’t hesitate to ask for extra help if the person is uncooperative or in an awkward position. If needed, you can even use lifting equipment.
Remember, the most important patient is… YOU. A part of your travel physical therapy job or nursing positions is to advise patients to live a healthy lifestyle. Now, it’s time to practice what you preach!