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5 Essential New Years Resolutions for Nurses

Matt B

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It doesn’t matter if you’re a Nurse, Doctor or ACP – we all know the pressure of working in a busy healthcare environment all too well. We have put together a list of 5 essential New Years Resolutions that every healthcare professional should try to keep.

These are realistic resolutions that we expect every healthcare professional to keep over the next year.

1) Drink more water.

Your always pestering your patients to drink more, well you should be drinking more too! It’s too often that Nurses get to the end of their 12 hour shift only to realise they have not had a drink all day! Finally, try to replace the coffee on night shifts with water – you’ll feel a lot better overall and you’ll sleep better when you finally get to bed too.

2) Sleep for more than 4 hours.

You are not a superhero, your body needs to rest and to recuperate especially from 12 hours on your feet. You may be tempted to sleep whenever and wherever you can but it has been proven than 6 hours of continuous sleep is better for your body than smaller ‘power-naps’. This is especially important in-between shifts – you can’t be on your game if you’ve only had 4 hours sleep.

3) Look after your hands.

Your hands are the ‘tools of your trade’, constant washing means they can easily get dry, cracked and blistered. Make sure you take a few moments to apply moisturiser. Your organisation may already provide moisturiser, but lets me honest – it’s not the best. Pick some of the good stuff up from your local chemist.

4) See your own Doctor.

We look after other people all day long but sometimes you forget to look after yourself. Your health is just as important. If you have health niggles – go and see your Doctor – I’ve seen too many Nurses wait until it’s too late and end up off work sick instead. It’s no good for you and it’s no good for your patients.

5) Go for a wee!

By the end of a 12 hour shift your EWS is sometimes higher than your patients. Try and take a few moments every few hours for yourself, drink stop, toilet break and back to work. These few moments are essential for you to be on your A-game.

Basically, Look after Yourself!

The moral of this post is simply this; LOOK AFTER YOURSELF – your important too! Many of you are going to be doing this job for the next 40 years, you need to look after and respect your body. I know all to well about the pressures of working within healthcare but I also know about getting ill due to self-neglect. You wouldn’t put your patients through it – so why put yourself through it?

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Adam Kay’s Letter to the Secretary of State for Health

Matt B

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Adam Kay, a former Doctor, publishes an open letter to the Secretary of State for Health calling for him to walk a mile in the shoes of a junior doctor.

In his new book, ‘This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor,’ the former obstetrics and gynaecology doctor writes candidly about his experiences as a junior doctor and the effect working in medicine has on both his personal and professional life.

In the open letter to The Secretary of State for Health, he said;

“Roger Fisher was a professor of law at Harvard University, who suggested back in 1981 that they should implant the American nuclear codes in the heart of a volunteer. If the President wanted to press the big red button and kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people, then first he’d have to take a butcher’s knife and dig it out of the volunteer’s chest himself; so that he realizes what death actually means first-hand, and understands the implications of his actions. Because the President would never press the button if he had to do that.

“Similarly, you and your successor and their successors for ever more should have to work some shifts alongside junior doctors. Not the thing you already do, where a chief executive shows you round a brand-new ward that’s gleaming like a space station. No: palliate a cancer patient; watch a trauma victim have their leg amputated; deliver a dead baby. Because I defy any human being, even you, to know what the job really entails and question a single doctor’s motivation. If you knew, you would be applauding them, you’d be proud of them, you’d be humbled by them, and you’d be eternally grateful for everything they do.

“The way you treat junior doctors demonstrably doesn’t work. I strongly suggest you seek a second opinion.

If you’re interested in reading more, you can buy a copy of his book on Amazon or book tickets for his ongoing tour.

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The Junior Doctors Survival Guide written by Nurses

Matt B

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Well done. Congratulations. You’ve survived medical school and made it ‘on to the shop floor’, this is where the real test begins.

Your first few weeks as a Junior Doctor are going to be difficult and jam-packed; a new hospital, new colleagues, new patients, and a new hospital system to figure out.

Here are ten tips that will stand you in good stead for your first day, week, month, year and beyond. This is your Junior Doctors Survival Guide as written by Nurses;

  • Respect the nurses. You can come to us for advice and guidance – we will have you back – but please don’t take us for granted. We have an abundance of knowledge about our patients, the hospital and how to make stuff happen.
  • Each member of the team is important. Doctors, nurses, porters, physiotherapists, domestics, estates, plumbers – the hospital simply couldn’t function without them.
  • Don’t be a smart arse. We know and understand you have worked hard through medical school and congratulations on becoming a Doctor, but now it’s time to get to work.
  • Have a sense of humor. Make sure your able to have a laugh and a joke but be careful not to cross the line.
  • Master cannulation. I don’t just mean know how to put a cannula in – develop the skill and master it – it will stand you in good stead for the future.
  • Eat and drink. The list of jobs is, and always will be, almost endless. Make sure you take your breaks; eat, drink and chat to your fellow colleagues.
  • Show emotion. I’m not going to lie to you, it’s going to be hard – medical school hasn’t prepared you for the first few months of life as a Doctor. If you’re having an especially tough day talk to someone about it. Don’t beat yourself up for having a little cry – it happens to the best of us.
  • Don’t just look at the numbers. We spend 12 hours a day with our patient, we will come to you when “something just isn’t right”, we don’t know what, we can’t put our finger on it. But, we know our patients.
  • Your first death is hard. Expected or not, nothing can prepare you for the death of your first patient. We have all been through this. See- show emotion and How to Deal with the Death of a patient
  • Tidy up after yourself. Nothing and I mean nothing, annoys the ward staff more than a Doctor who thinks the staff are there to clean up after them. Tidy away your sharps, notes and coffee cup.
  • Ask for help. Your seniors are there to support you – it’s literally their job. Don’t be afraid to escalate patients or situations to them and never put yourself in a situation where you have no backup.
  • Admit when you simply don’t know. Making up an answer to a question can have serious consequences. If you don’t know. Say, but find out.
  • Try to go home on time. Look through your list – find out what can wait until tomorrow. Your downtime and social life are important too (check out our list of NHS Discounts for downtime ideas). You work to live not live to work.
  • The hospital at night is scary. There are fewer doctors, nurses and seniors around to support you. Call for help early and escalate appropriately.

Remember, you are part of our team. Our job is to work together in the interests of patient care. We will try to look after you, make you tea when you’re sad and, rest assured, we will tell you when you’re being an idiot.

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