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5 ways nurses can avoid falling victim to fainting season this year

Tuesday, July 20th, 2021 | Blog

The weather has been far from summery over the last few months, but for some reason we are now stuck in the middle of a heatwave. While most people think working a nine to five in this heat is unbearable, nurses have to work a 12 hour shift on a boiling hot ward. Fatigue is common for nurses and healthcare workers in this level of heat, many rarely get the chance to eat never mind drink water. Fainting season is a period of the year when the heat can often get too much for nurses. It’s important you stay hydrated when on a shift at work, so here’s some tips to avoid fatigue.

Drinking water

This might be an obvious tip, but it’s still going to be the most important one you read. Drinking water is so important, it keeps you hydrated and energetic. Only a 5% reduction in fluid intake can lead to a 30% decrease in energy levels. This means you would be running on less energy, this is not great during a 12 hour shift where you are constantly rushing around trying to balance several things at once. You can start making sure you are dehydrated well before you even enter a hospital. Try to drink water regularly, making sure you are hydrated well before a shift will mean you are not playing catch up as your body struggles with the heat and exhaustion of working on a ward.

Take breaks

Finding the time to take a break during a busy shift is near impossible, nurses should make sure they at least stop to drink water though. A small water breakmight give you just enough of a boost to feel slightly more refreshed and less fatigued in general.

Limit sugary drinks and foods

Sugary drinks taste good and might give you a short boost of energy, but like this current heatwave, it won’t last long. Limiting these kinds of drinks and replacing them with water will be far better for your body. Heat exhaustion and fainting is far less likely if you drink large amounts of water, but a sugar low will likely cause fatigue.  The best way to beat a sugar low is by eating hydrating fruits, which is discussed below.

Eat fruit 

If you do want some sugar in your system, buy some fruit to eat during your shift. Fruits like; watermelon, strawberry, grapefruit and even pineapple have a high water to volume content as well as being sweet. This natural sugar snack will be far better for your body than any can of coke would, whilst also hydrating your body naturally. The best thing about fruit is how easy it is to snack on, if you haven’t got the time to take a full lunch break, just have a quick fruit break. 

Check those around you

Every nurse is busy during a shift, it’s important to keep an eye on your colleagues as they might be so rushed off their feet they haven’t had the chance to drink or eat yet. Take a spare bottle of water to work with you just in-case someone else forgets theirs; it likely won’t be needed, but there might be that one time it does. It’s also important to make sure patients are getting enough water, most will let you know but there will be those that don’t. Stubborn or quiet patients could end up very ill if they aren’t hydrated in this heat


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