Nursing is an incredibly taxing profession. With the current nursing shortage worldwide, there has been an uptick in travel nurses. These specialists spend a few weeks helping a hospital or private office before moving to a new locale. While nursing itself takes a toll on your health, working as a travel nurse is often even worse. If you’re always hopping between communities so you can help people, here are some ways you can take care of yourself.
1. Focus on Nutrition
One of the best things you can do to protect your health as a travel nurse is to maintain a healthy nutrition standard. The food you put in your body will not only fuel your daily routine but also allow you to build a healthy immune response that’ll keep you safe when traveling. Of course, sitting down for a meal is not always possible when you’re on shift. Depending on what department you’re working in, you may not even get a break until you’re ready to clock out. So how do you focus on nutrition?
A simple solution is to keep healthy snacks in your pockets or desk. While you may not have time to go to the cafeteria, you’ll probably be able to grab a few bites of a protein bar between patients. If you get breaks during your shift, keeping a glucose disposal agent with you can help balance your blood sugar for the rest of your workday. These supplements act the same way insulin does and help take sugars from your bloodstream to the cells that need them most. You can maintain enough energy to make it through your day and build a healthy immune system by keeping your blood sugar balanced.
2. Reduce Stress Between Shifts
Another vital component to your health as a travel nurse is stress reduction. There’s no getting around the fact that nursing is a ridiculously stressful and mentally taxing profession. No matter your department, you bear the emotional burden of helping people on some of their worst days. You can take care of your mental health by having a stress relief plan outside of work. Allowing yourself a space to relax after your shift ends will help keep you stable and motivated as a nurse.
Making time for self-care between shifts doesn’t need to be elaborate. On most days, your chosen form of pampering might be a hot meal and a long nap, and that’s okay. When you have a few days off, going to a bar or restaurant with friends can help reset your emotional meter. If that’s not your style, simply making an appointment to get your hair done or an upper back massage can help return you to your best self. No matter what you like to do on your days off, it’s essential to reduce stress between shifts to stay mentally fit.
3. Create a Healthy Sleep Routine
Finally, creating a healthy sleep routine will protect your body and mind. Without proper sleep, it’s impossible to function at your highest level. No matter what shift you work, you should have a bedtime routine for when you get back to your lodgings. Even in the middle of the day, following your set ritual will help your body fall asleep and stay asleep longer.
If you’re staying in a hotel during your placement, simple acts like putting the “do not disturb” tag on your door and closing the blinds can help you sleep well. If your room has a kitchenette, try soothing tea options to get your body winding down for bed. By creating a healthy sleep routine, you can stay at the top of your game during work.
Overall, being a travel nurse is both taxing and rewarding. The nature of your job demands that you help people stay healthy, but you should be able to remain healthy. With these tips on taking care of yourself as a travel nurse, you can maintain your health while traveling.