How to Stay Healthy in a Hospital

By trade, health-care professional are conditioned to think of and put others first. But if they continually put their own needs at the bottom of the list, eventually it’ll catch up with them. And if the caretaker is sick, no one is better off.

A nurse’s No. 1 priority should be her own health and safety, especially if she’s working in a hospital. There’s a laundry list of dangers awaiting nurses in hospital. Some are easily spotted while others are hidden dangers. Either way, many are avoidable if you take care of yourself on the job.

Wash your hands

That may sound overly simplicity, but it’s one of the most preventative – and easiest – safety precautions you can make. If you’re thinking there’s no way hospital workers don’t wash their hands regularly, we’ve got some bad news for you. A 2011 study estimated that 15 percent to 30 percent of hospital-acquired infections are preventable through improved hand hygiene on the health-care professionals’ part.

In many hospitals, employees are overworked and understaffed. When those two things come together, fundamentals like washing your hands regularly can slip through the cracks. But doing so will not only help stop the spread of infections to patients, but to the staff members as well. Also, don’t be afraid to ask others around you to wash their hands as well.

Get vaccinated

As a health-care provider, you’ve likely touted the benefits of getting vaccinated to a patient or two. But are you taking your own advice? Have you been vaccinated? Some hospitals require certain vaccinations while others leave it to the individual’s discretion.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 67 percent of all health-care workers were vaccinated during the 2011-12 flu season. According to the agency’s research, the number of health-care professionals getting vaccinated has been on the rise in recent years, but the rates don’t meet the national goal of 90 percent.

Drink up

Staying hydrated is one of the easiest ways to keep your body running at its optimal level. Oftentimes, staffers are so busy and eternally running behind, it’s hard to even think about drinking six to eight glasses of water – much less actually drinking them.

There’s good reason to make it a priority though, including water’s natural ability to flush harmful toxins out of body and regulate eating habits. An added benefit is its ability to keep you alert and focused. That’ll come in handy when trying to get in the other items on this list.

Avoid the vending machines

There tends to be people loitering about hospitals, looking for ways to kill time while waiting for news of their loved ones. Because of that, in part, hospitals are breeding grounds for vending machines. They’re everywhere, and they’re usually full of unhealthy foods. Avoid them at all costs.

That will, however, require some pre-planning on your part. Keep healthy snacks near your station so you don’t get in a situation where you have to rely on a vending machine. You’re an expert here. You know that eating right leads to an overall healthy lifestyle. Practice what you preach!

Join a wellness program

Hospitals are starting to get the picture that they need to offer wellness programs for their employees. Some facilities have established fitness centers for employees and even help connect coworkers looking for workout partners. If your hospital has such a program, it’s good news for you because it makes it easier to find accountability while on the job.

But what if your employer doesn’t? Sometimes it has to start from the bottom and work its way up. Get with some like-minded coworkers and start your own program. You can start small with just a few interested people or you can set your sights as high as you can imagine.

A final thought

Staying healthy in a hospital takes little more than a commitment to put your safety and health at the top of your priority list. You may put the patient’s needs as top priority, but you can rest assured no one will do the same for you. You have to do that yourself.

Thanks for reading,

Venture Medical

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