Friday, September 28, 2018

Staying Healthy While Working in the Healthcare Industry

You would assume that people who work in the healthcare industry are some of the healthiest. This can certainly be the case, but a lot of these individuals are also struggling to maintain their health while trying to keep up with the physical, mental, and emotional demands of their jobs.

The healthcare industry, just like any other industry, presents workers with unique challenges. Some specific health challenges healthcare workers face include exposure to germs and infections, physical stress, and mental and emotional strain.

If you work in this industry, it’s essential that you make your own well-being a priority, both for yourself and for your patients. Listed below are some tips you can implement to keep yourself safe and healthy year round.

1. Shield Yourself from Infections

When you work in a hospital or physician’s office, your exposure to germs, viruses, and bacteria is quite high. It’s impossible for you to protect yourself from illness completely, but you can take steps to strengthen your immune system and minimize exposure as much as possible.

Some simple steps you can take include:
  • Wash your hands after coming in contact with all patients
  • Wear personal protective equipment (masks, eye shields, gloves, gowns, etc.) when necessary
  • Stay up-to-date on immunizations for illnesses like influenza, chicken pox, hepatitis B, and measles
It’s especially important for you to prioritize these steps if you’re pregnant or dealing with a condition that compromises your immune system.

2. Protect Your Legs and Feet

If you work in the healthcare industry, chances are you spend a lot of time on your feet. This can wreak havoc on your legs and feet.

Sitting down on the job isn’t really an option, but you can find some relief from wearing compression socks for healthcare professionals.

Compression socks help improve blood flow and support tired limbs while minimizing soreness and stiffness. These socks come in a variety of styles, so be sure to shop around and try a few different options to see which one works best for your needs and preferences.

3. Use Proper Movement and Lifting Techniques

In addition to being hard on the feet and legs, working in the healthcare industry can also put a lot of strain on your back. This is especially true if you have to spend a lot of time lifting and transporting patients or moving equipment.

Be sure to use proper lifting techniques when working with patients or heavy equipment. This includes lifting with your legs rather than putting all the weight in your lower back.

You also shouldn’t hesitate to use a patient lift or other assistive device, or to ask a coworker for help, when you’re moving a patient. It’s not only better for you, but it ensures their safety as well.

4. Bring Your Own Meals

Ironic as it may be, a lot of the food available in hospitals and medical clinics isn’t exactly healthy. Instead of playing the guessing game and trying to figure out which of the cafeteria or vending machine offerings are the most nutritious, bring your own meals and snacks from home.

Salads, soups, wraps, and chicken/beef and rice bowls are all simple options that are easy to store and prepare ahead of time. Try setting aside an hour or so each week to prepare your meals so that you always have a healthy option on hand.

Not only will your health, homemade meals taste great, but they’ll also provide you with more sustained energy levels so you’ll have an easier time keeping up with your workload.

5. Beware of Signs of Burnout

Finally, remember that your mental and emotional health matters just as much as your physical health. It’s very common for healthcare workouts to develop symptoms of burnout syndrome.

Common symptoms of burnout syndrome include:
  • Chronic fatigue, even on your off days
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Difficulty focusing or remembering
  • Gastrointestinal issues, dizziness, or headaches
  • Increased levels of anxiety
  • Depression or mood swings
  • Feelings of detachment or a loss of enjoyment in your work
The sooner you catch these symptoms, the sooner you’ll be able to make changes and prevent them from seriously impacting your health and well-being.

This is a guest blog entry.

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