Nurses have always been known as heroes in nursing scrubs, but being a nurse these days is not only heroic, but so much more. They are actually sacrificing their own welfare and are literally putting themselves at risk to care for the needs of others.
Although we are currently more than a year in since covid hit the shores of the United States, it is still continuing to spread throughout the world. Since this virus is extremely contagious, one of the primary preventative measures taken to avoid contracting the virus is social distancing and staying away from crowds.
How then does the nurse, who is working amongst those who are sick, some with covid, protect themselves from getting sick?
Washing your hands frequently is so basic, yet so neglected, and the consequences are so very dangerous. According to the CDC medical workers wash their hands only half the time than they are supposed to! This is a very, very significant number. Something as simple as washing hands between patients can literally save lives, or unfortunately the opposite. Hospitals and healthcare facilities are hot spots for germs and bacteria, and all must be done to prevent the spread amongst patients, as well as the nurse or healthcare professional.
So, why is something so basic, and easy as washing the hands so commonly ignored?
There are two factors at play here that contribute to this issue. Firstly, many facilities do not have enough or easily accessible hand sanitizing dispensers available making it tedious and difficult to get your hands disinfected quickly. And the high-pressure environment often present, along with the exhausting nature of the work in the hospital setting leads one to sometimes skip this vital procedure when short on time and not finding a sanitizer easily when you need it.
Of course, washing your hands in an actual sink with soap and hot water is best, but it is not always practical or possible. Making sure to take a quick rub with hand sanitizer between patients goes a long way.
Keep a Distance
With a job as a nurse, keeping a 6 foot distance from those you are caring for is not always possible, but nurses should make an effort to keep the distance whenever they can. Since social distancing has been proven to slow the spread of the virus it is imperative to practice it as much as possible. Of course, it is without saying that crowds should be avoided as well as visiting indoor spaces that have lots of people whenever possible. Since those who contract the virus do not start experiencing symptoms until several days after first getting it, keeping a distance from everyone is of utmost importance to avoid spreading this disease.
Wearing proper PPE, personal protective equipment is imperative to the healthcare professional, especially those working in a covid unit. PPE includes a protective gown, gloves, eye protection, and an N95 mask. Although walking around with all this equipment is cumbersome, it is extremely important to gear up to properly protect yourself from contracting the virus from others.
Boost Your Immune System
As we all know, something with a strong immune system is less likely to get sick. This rule applies even more so to a busy nurse. Getting proper sleep and eating nutritious meals and snacks at regular intervals will keep your immune system strong and your energy levels up. With so much distressing news these days it is important to not only keep yourself physically strong, but emotionally healthy as well. Take care of yourself and give yourself some well-deserved pampering, so you can continue to do your amazing work of taking care of others.