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4 effects nursing has on the body and how you can avoid them

Thursday, July 28th, 2016 | Nursing

There’s no doubt that working in healthcare can often be a strenuous affair - from challenging patients to over-exertion, there’s plenty of ways nurses can get injured, stressed and worn out. No matter how impossible it seems to circumvent certain injuries, there are ways to help prevent and at least minimise the effects nursing can have on a body. Here are the four of most common complaints and how you can help prevent them:

Back Injuries
Back issues are one of the most common injuries in the healthcare industry, nurses are constantly putting strain on their bodies during a shift. The issue is so widespread that it costs the NHS £400 Million a year. There often isn’t any way to avoid moving and handling patients, as they are often unable to do it themselves; but steps can be taken to ensure you’re doing less damage to your back. Following the correct lifting procedure is always a start. Don’t overexert yourself. If you feel you are unable to move someone, make sure you find help; patient care is important, but so is your health! It is also important to keep up to date, there is regular training around the safe moving and handling of patients, so make sure you attend!

Foot Pain
Foot pain happens to lots of people, in many different professions. Nurses are on the more extreme end of foot pain though. This comes down to long 12 hour shifts, with hard ward floors and regular lifting. The most important thing any nurse can do is buy a comfortable pair of shoes that are the right fit for your type of foot. The right shoes will go a long way to making your feet comfortable at work. It’s also worth giving them a regular massage when possible, just to help relax the muscles in your feet. Take care of your feet, and they will take care of you.

Immune System
The immune system is constantly under stress when you are a nurse. Long hours alongside a lack of food and water can weaken the body’s ability to fight off infection. When you consider the fact a hospital is also full of infection, it’s likely the body is working extra hard just to fight off those infections.  This is even worse for those nurses that regularly swap between different shift schedules, because the body has to constantly shift between two different sleeping patterns. The body uses sleep to help boost the white blood cell count in the body, this is harder if the body is constantly adapting to a different schedule. There’s no way to combat sleeping patterns, but a healthy diet will help keep that white blood cell count up. Staying hydrated during a shift will also aid your immune system against the ravages of a shift on the ward.

Mental Health
There’s no doubt that working in a hospital environment can put a strain on a person’s mental health. Nurses are constantly worrying about other patients, rather than their own well-being. In the past few years the number of nurses taking time off for depression, anxiety and other mental health related illnesses has risen. The most recent data has shown that 1,385 nurses working under the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board alone took time off in 2014 because of their mental health. Mental health issues are hard to avoid if you’re constantly at work, the best think you can do is seek help if you are struggling!


Every nurse is different though, each person experiences different effects of a career in nursing. Are there any long or short term effects nursing has had on you? What did you do to combat it?

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