There’s been a lot in the news, and on the web about nursing and the nursing lifestyle. Most of the information has been helpful, enlightening, or entertaining, and overall positive. But I’ve ran across several articles this week on a subject that I think effects those in the travel nurse community even more than conventional nurses, and it’s not so positive.
Staying Healthy as a Travel Nurse
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurses have the fourth highest rate of injuries or sickness on the job of all listed professions. If this isn’t bad enough, nurses scored below the average American in almost every category associated with good health. While this is bad news, it’s unfortunately not all that surprising.
Every nurse, or anyone with a nurse in their life, knows how little water nurses drink while working, how few times they get to use restroom, how much stress their under, and how hard it is to get a good meal while on duty. There are almost as many incidents of workplace assaults on nurses as there are in all other occupations combined. Keep in mind that healthcare workers make up less than 10% of the nation’s total workforce. Nurses must deal with administrators, doctors, irate patients, upset family members, and lack of resources, all while trying to save lives.
As a travel nurse, there are even more challenges that can put one’s health in jeopardy. Finding healthy meals while traveling, or nailing down a good grocer with organic choices in a town you’re not yet familiar with can be difficult. Getting a good night’s sleep at your new digs can take some time, not to mention the havoc wreaked on snooze time caused by jumping time zones. And any kind of exercise routine can be hard to keep up with when your life’s routine is changing so often.
The opportunity that my wife has provided for us through travel nursing has been life changing. We could not be more thrilled with our trajectory. But nothing is all corn flakes and sunshine all the time. Keeping up with your health is more than just important, it’s necessary. Luckily, a few small changes, and a little tweaking of the familiar, can have a big impact.
Living a healthier lifestyle
One of the best ways to get started towards a healthier lifestyle is to make small changes often. This method also works well when traveling. If you use three packets of sugar in your coffee, try cutting it down to two and a half, a week later try two, a couple of days after that try one packet of sugar, and one of stevia. Buy organic when you can, and eat more of the healthy stuff that you like. Variety may be the spice of life, but spices can give you heartburn. Keep it simple. If you try a diet and it doesn’t work for you, or you get bored with it, don’t give up and go back to your bad habits, give up and try another diet.
You can apply this practice to exercise also. The Spartacus Workout is a good example of this. There are ten exercises that you perform for one minute each, with fifteen seconds of rest in between each one. You run through the whole routine twice, with a one minute rest period before starting the second round. Start out by performing fifteen seconds of exercise, with fifteen seconds of rest in between, and just do the routine once. Every other time you do the workout, increase your performance time by five seconds. It’s also a good one for the road, because all you need is two dumbbells of appropriate weight.
We want our nurses to stick around for a while, and we want the members of our travel nurse family healthy enough for all those adventures that lie ahead. Small changes often, and a little sticktoitiveness, can help to reverse a negative trend in the nursing community.