Nursing shifts may vary from one case to another, but whatever circumstances there is, everything spells the same - busy. I hurry from meeting to meeting. I sit with my supervisor and talk over our plans for the new research project. I visit with multiple patients in a row, asking them if they are interested in enrolling in our study. I finally return to my desk after being gone for over 4 hours. My lips are cracked. My head aches. My mouth feels dry. I reach for my jug of water and gulp the refreshing liquid in. I am extremely thirsty. I am dehydrated.
I know many nurses struggle their health with dehydration. While the story above is an example from my current role, I used to come up against this hardship almost daily on the floor. I was busy with taking care of my patients, speaking to families, answering doctor’s calls, running charge, meeting with my boss, etc. I was also worried about when the next time I might get a chance to use the restroom was so at times I didn’t want to overdo it with the water!
Staying thirsty and dehydrated is all too common. But unfortunately, it is also too dangerous. When we are dehydrated - and I am sure we have all felt this at one time or another - we may notice various symptoms like headache, blurred vision, irritability, mood swings, and fatigue. Once the dehydration gets worse, things like decreased blood pressure, dizziness, and even fainting can occur. These are just some of the effects of dehydration in busy shift, nurses.
Now I’m sure I am writing about things that you already know, but what I wonder is: do you ever think about how getting dehydrated at work is affecting you? Did you ever notice that during the afternoon you may get snappier with your co-workers? Or maybe towards the middle of your shift you are purely exhausted or weak? How about feeling light-headed and dizzy while on the job? I know that this is not something we want to go through as nurses, because then our patients might have to turn around and take care of us as we fall over onto them! (I know from experience and it wasn’t pretty).
So what are some ways that you can combat the possibility of another nursing shift of dehydration?
Making sure that nurses are getting an adequate amount of water is vital for daily life functions. Learn the importance of hydration by providing your body the right amount of water each day. Hectic nursing shift should not hinder your health.
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