Few people are as exposed to germs during the course of a workday then nurses. Nurses are in an illness battleground, fighting to take care of those who need them most while trying to maintain their own health.
The following steps can help to better ensure nurses win this battle:
- Sanitation. Arguably the most well-known and possibly easiest way to reduce the risk of getting sick: wash your hands. Take a moment between each patient to carefully wash your hands. This not only helps reduce the risk of exposing patients to illness, but also increases your own likelihood of avoiding dangerous flu germs. It can also help to regularly sanitize work stations, computer keyboards, door handles and other surfaces that you regularly come into contact with on a daily basis.
- Use your own pen. For those who prefer to write out their notes while working with a patient, bring your own pen. If you use a white board for communications, consider purchasing your own marker or sanitizing an extra at the beginning of the shift and carrying it with you.
- Take a moment for self-care. Yes, your schedule is likely already very busy. Although it may seem impossible to take a moment to get some exercise or find nutritious snacks the alternative is much more time consuming. A failure to take care of yourself will decrease your immunity and increase the likelihood of getting sick. Nothing throws a full schedule into more disarray then getting ill.
Another option that can be controversial is to get a flu shot. In some cases, a nurse may find themselves fighting against a licensing board if they feel strongly against this option. If this happens, it is wise to act to protect your license. Legal counsel can provide guidance.