staying healthy in first year of nursing

  1. hey y'all! i am a nursing student and will be entering my first year of nursing soon. during clinicals, i've been working really hard, as all of you have experienced i'm sure! i was just wondering if any experienced nurses had some advice as to how to stay healthy during this first year of adjustment-- specifically, i feel like i may develop physical problems like back problems or leg problems from being on my feet all day and working. also, i feel like the shifts are so long and sometimes through the night, making exercising in my free time a really difficult and tiring task. also, being tired will make me take less time to prepare healthy food and lean me towards unhealthy meals. how do y'all keep from getting hurt physically and also how do y'all manage your time to still stay healthy? any tips or guidelines would be greatly appreciated because i'd like to preserve my own health while helping others too!! thanks!
    sliedberg
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   NurseLatteDNP
    In our program we all got sick during the first semester. The nurses have told us that it is normal to get sick at first, since we are exposed to many different things for the first time in our life. But they have also told us that we will less likely get sick in the future, because we have build our immune system up.
  4. by   MrsMinor
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!
    I'm now experiencing my 3rd cold within my first 2 months of work. HELP!!
    I feel absolutely miserable & question at times whether I should even be at work...but if not, I'd never be there :chuckle !!
    I'm not running a fever, but cough, congestion, etc all there. I feel okay in between these colds for about 3 days max before another one hits (or perhaps same cold)
    Have tried to get lots of sleep, push fluids, tried airborne, zinc drops, MVI, OJ, gargle.....what else can I do??
    (I don't feel that my symptoms warrant a Dr visit...yet)
    I couldn't even get the flu shot at work because I had a cold, and now they've run out!! I'm just so run down....could explain my emotions being slightly out of whack as well.

    (As far as the physical part, I make sure I practice good body mechanics at work & also exercise including pilates to try and strengthen my core muscles--that we all use for all that lifting, pulling, pushing !!)

    I'd too like to say thanks in advance for any tips from those nurses who have been through this--I'm now getting my kids sick too !!
  5. by   Happy-ER-RN
    Relieving stress is a good way to stay healthy. Take a hot bath, drink warm tea (I like sleepy time tea from Celelstial Seasonings--it has peppermint and chamomile) take a daily vitamin. Try to enjoy the little things in life. Like your drive to school or work--relax, listen to your favorite music in your car enjoy the nieghbors gardens and trees as you drive by. Drink plenty of water. Take time for yourself every once in a while, even if it means not doing well on one test or something. Also always try to get a good nights sleep. If I get too stressed out to sleep I take half of a Tylenol PM, works like a charm.

    I don't make time to exercise either, but I figure I get quite a workout running around at work!
  6. by   bluestar
    When working at the bedside I utilize the height adjustment to bring the patient up to me so I'm not always bending over. Saves the back. Just be sure to lower the bed when you're done.
    As stated earlier, exercise good body mechanics. Lift with the legs, not your back.
    I usually exercise three to five times a week, right after work.
  7. by   TexasPediRN
    *Try and get 8 hours of sleep a night. Yes, studying is important, but being sick really does impede on study time.

    *Eat Right. Get a good balance of all the food groups, and chocolate is always ok! Make sure you get fruits and vegetables in as well as protiens. Bring items with you to class and/or clinical such as peanuts, granola bars, fruit, etc. This way you can feed your brain when its being overloaded with all the information in class, and you can prevent yourself from passing out on clinical days. Dont rely on bringing junk food, it doesnt help!
    And, make sure if you need to, you eat at clinical. Expecially if you are going to the OR to see a surgery. You dont want to pass out there, and breathing in the hot air with the mask on doesnt help. I had a few people in my clinical pass out b/c they didnt eat and went to the OR.

    *Exercise. Or try to as much as you can. A nice walk in the mornings can help to clear the mind before your day begins.

    *Do something for yourself, even if you have tons of work to accomplish. Take 5 minutes out to call a friend, or go visit someone.

    *Do Back exercises to save your back! nurses are notorious for bad backs (have one myself!) Practice good body mechanics. As previously mentioned, raise the bed up to your height. Sit while at clinical and bend over to stretch out your back. Exercise your feet while sitting.
    If needed- I find the chiropractor a godsend. I go for maintence every 6 weeks, and it really helps me. (this too b/c I have that lovely bad back and have been going since High school)

    *Have a study group! Study by yourself, then mix it up and have some fun! Study groups dont have to be a 'sit down in the library and study til you pass out'. Make up jokes to remember things, quiz each other. It helps to take your mind off of things, and helps you to have one while studying.

    *Use common sense. You know whats right to do and whats wrong for you.

    *Most of all, believe in yourself. I promise you that you will make it through this first year healthy and knowledgable!!
  8. by   jenrninmi
    You sound like me MrsMinor. I have been sick for the last 1 1/2 months, non stop. 5th's disease, then we thought Mono - but was negative, now a sinus infection. I'm so tired of being sick. It's rediculous.
  9. by   Indy
    Fifth's disease? Wow. I was convinced I had that about a month or so ago, then decided the "slap face rash" was from sleeping with my hand under my cheek for 12 hours straight after a really hard day at work. It did correspond with me feeling really crappy and running a low grade fever when I woke up.

    One thing I keep forgetting to do, that would probably help. When talking about strained muscles, heat before exercise, ice after. Heat for me would be the hot shower before work. I gotta remember to grab an ice pack when I get home instead of just passing out 'cause that makes for a really stiff back later.
  10. by   KatieBell
    One of the BEST things- that I did not do too well at, is to keep in touch with your friends from school- and if you had any good relations with Professors, your professors. Both of these people understand the difficulties presented int he first year, and will be able to commiserate with you, or offer a shoulder to cry on and a person who will truly celebrate with you.
    Other people- who are not nurses rarely understand what it means to get a first IV, or participate in a successful code, or recognize a change in heart rhythm early on and save a patient from complications... They also have a hard time understanding a difficult day, as many people have unusual ideas about what nurses actually do. It's always nice to have someone who knows you to discuss things with.

    In addition, I second the idea of excersise. Join a class- if you pay for it, you are more likely to go. It doesn't even have to be strenuous, it could be a low impact aerobics class or a Yoga for relaxation class (Some forms of yoga are strenuous and not relaxing until you know how to do it...).

    Wash your hands like a maniac. I do it when I enter the patients room, again if I am going to do something- like an IV or foley. Then again after I finish the procedure, and again before I exit the room. it is extreme, but I rarely get sick and I don't take the flu shot, so I have to be doing something right. (I work ED with tons of sniffling coughing children). I also try to one time a shift- use those microbial wipes (or a wash cloth with some sort of cleanser on it) on the handles to the doors-the stretcher rails, the counter tops...it is sort of a lot of wiping, but where I am now there is some down time.

    Oh yes- as gross as they are- wear support hose. They do tend to make things feel better, throughout the shift.
  11. by   GregCP, RN
    If youre starting your first year soon..how are you, now, in clinicals? But in any case, having adaquate calories shouldnt be an issue..since you are able to have a lunch break. The problem is, getting sick or physically worn out. My advise, drink plenty of water, take a MVT q am, and be smart on what you physically CANT do- if you feel you'll need help transfering a heavy patient...GET HELP! You'll save yourself from injuries that may plague you for the long run. Try to stay off your feet as much as possible- if you are doing paperwork, find a place to sit down..your feet/knees/back will surely appreciate you! Last and most important, the first sypmtom of a cold or flu, there is this new product called "Airborn" available OTC. It was invented by a teacher because she would get colds when entering large crowds. My girlfriend who is a RN too, gave this to me during my clinicals..and it worked GREAT! First sign of a cold, i took this, and then i was better in a day or two!
  12. by   amy7902
    Several homeopathics I like it may take a few tries to see what works for you. For colds Umka is very good. Flu occilicocinum (spelling?) Sore throat Ferrum Phos. Clear rhinitis Kali Mur, green/yellow Calc Sulph. Muscle aches Mag phos or Arnica. Let me know how you do. Vit C powder is the best! 20 minutes after taking I feel better.
    Amy
  13. by   Sapphy
    I think not getting too run down is the key. I am a first year nurse and have recently switch from 3-11 to the 7-3 shift. Not only do I hate it but I am exhausted all the time. And now I have pneumonia on top of it. Got diagnosed on Tuesday and the doc says to me... you can't work like this. Easy for her to say with her 6 figure a year income. She says well at least till Saturday. I only have enough sick time for 1 day so my next check will be two days short. So I go back to work today still sick.... not sure how I am going to get better like this but I know getting enough rest is going to be the key.
  14. by   NaomieRN
    Quote from sliedberg
    hey y'all! i am a nursing student and will be entering my first year of nursing soon. during clinicals, i've been working really hard, as all of you have experienced i'm sure! i was just wondering if any experienced nurses had some advice as to how to stay healthy during this first year of adjustment-- specifically, i feel like i may develop physical problems like back problems or leg problems from being on my feet all day and working. also, i feel like the shifts are so long and sometimes through the night, making exercising in my free time a really difficult and tiring task. also, being tired will make me take less time to prepare healthy food and lean me towards unhealthy meals. how do y'all keep from getting hurt physically and also how do y'all manage your time to still stay healthy? any tips or guidelines would be greatly appreciated because i'd like to preserve my own health while helping others too!! thanks!
    sliedberg
    I am a pre-nursing student with a degree in Nutrition. I am currently working fulltime, taking Anatomy and Physiology 1 and also another class. I have a husband and a home to take care of. What I do to help me stay healthy, I stay away from too much sweets, I take extra Vitamin C, eat whole wheat intead of white breads, get plenty of rests, exercise, drink vitamin water, read the bible and pray. Stay away from all the processed food and high fats. Eat more live foods, such as fruits, vegetables. Detox your body every 6 months or 1year, wash your hands often, use lysol spray in your homes, dont use natural deodorant, not antiperspirant. If you have a Traders Joes, shop there, get all natural foods/organic. You will see a big difference. Dont let anything or anyone stress you out. "I am too blessed, to be stressed"

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