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Opinion

5 New Year’s Resolutions Every Nurses Should Have

The moral of this post is simply this; LOOK AFTER YOURSELF – you’re important too! 

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New Years resolutions
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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.

Coming up with New Year’s resolutions is a great way to start the year right and with a positive outlook. We have put together a list of five realistic new year’s resolutions that every healthcare professional should try to keep.

1) Drink more water.

You’re 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! 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.

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Take a look at the best water bottles for healthcare professionals.

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 let me honest – it’s not the best. Pick some of the good stuff up from your local chemist.

Take a look at the 5 beat hand creams for healthcare professionals.

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 – you’re 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 too 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?

Opinion

‘Student nurses graduate with £54k of debt, shouldn’t we pay them a wage instead?’

The Government claims students are “supernumerary” and “not contracted to provide nursing care”.

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student nurses walking

Student nurses are the unseen workforce and vital to patient care.

While I am pleased for the thousands of students who will soon be starting their journey to become a registered nurse, it comes with a stark reminder.

In November 2015, ministers announced the NHS Student Bursary and tuition fee payment would be cut in a plan to increase the number of available student places.

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Suffice to say, this hasn’t worked.

Instead, we have seen a consistent decline in the number of student nurses qualifying. Official figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) show an overall decline in applications of 8% since 2015.

There is no debate that nurses need to be degree-level educated – but are student loans the best way to fill an ever-widing gap in our workforce?

The unseen workforce.

Student nurses are the unseen workforce and are sometimes vital to the delivery of safe, compassionate, person-centered care.

Completing over two-thousand hours of hand-on, direct clinical practice over three years – is it fair to ask them to accumulate up to £54,582 (plus 6.3% annual interest) of debt?

With a starting salary of £24,214, this is a debt the majority of nurses will never pay off.

The Government claims that because student nurses are “supernumerary” and “not contracted to provide nursing care” they need to be treated like all other higher education students.

While is it true that the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) mandates that student nurses are considered ‘supernumerary’ – how realistic is this expectation? We hear stories of student nurses, trainee nursing associates and healthcare support workers being used to fill nurse staffing gaps on an almost daily basis.

A self-perpetuating cycle.

With an estimated 40,000 unfilled nursing vacancies in the NHS alone, health and social care services in England are stuck in a self-perpetuating cycle.

Chronic under-investment in services has led to an increased demand on staff and subsequently affected recruitment and retention rates. Universities then fail to recruit enough nurses to meet the current demand and so the cycle continues.

The Royal College of Nursing has called on the Government to invest at least £1b per year into nursing education and come up with a long-term plan after its plan to increase numbers has failed to work.

Matching the proposed apprentice wage while student nurses are on placement would go some way towards alleviating the financial burden the government has placed on student nurses.

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Opinion

A fresh start?

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RCN Congress

I’m excited and I’m nervous. I qualified as a nurse just 15 months ago. I left a career in IT of “quite a few years” – I decided I needed a fresh start.

Now I’m sat on a train heading to my first ever RCN Congress. I’m a voting delegate and will be honoured to carry that responsibility for my branch.

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I’m also excited to finally be meeting people that I’ve solely (or mostly) only ever connected with online.

Finally, I’m looking forward to the various debates and resolutions. Listening to the speakers will further inform my views and I might even share a thought or two myself – fortunately speaking in public does not generally worry me (I’ll be the one with the ukulele).

A brief glance back to this time last year when certain “irregularities” were noticed by some members around the pay deal and communications regarding it.

The train of events that followed uncovered a number of poor practices regarding transparency and accountability and our current council were elected to address these.

I also mentioned I am nervous.

Recently, it has become clear that further “irregularities” have occurred – and questions will be asked.

Tomorrow morning is the Royal College of Nursing’s Annual General Meeting – an opportunity for members to ask questions. An opportunity for the council to demonstrate its commitment to openness, transparency, and accountability. An opportunity for a fresh start.

I genuinely hope the answers to the questions I raise are clear and dispel the concerns many of us have.

And if they don’t? Well, that’s why I’m nervous.

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