How many times have you overlooked your own safety in the course of a shift? Most nurses will say “never,” but they’re surprised to learn how their dedication to patients has affected their answer. Whether you’re a skilled nurse with years of experience, or a newcomer to the profession, there are many ways to improve safety. Just look at these easy and helpful suggestions for quickly taking care of yourself while taking care of those around you.
Every room of a hospital or care facility offers its own challenges. Make sure the working space is clear of obstructions to protect yourself as well as the patient from falling debris. This includes the hard to handle sections of tubing that always seem to be in your way. Patient beds should always be locked in place to minimize the risk of accidental movement.
Don’t insist on repetitive movements, and try to vary the way you are sitting for long periods of time. This is especially true when working with charts. If possible, take walk, or stand while filling out certain forms. It’s also a great way to better monitor your work area.
If you need help with a patient, ask for it. Not only will it be easier, but there is less risk for all parties involved. For instance, if a patient needs lifting or has fallen, several people can do the job better than one individual. Don’t forget the lifts. They are always on hand to help provide just the right amount of movement.
Keeping up to date on your vaccinations is a good way to avoid illnesses you might encounter. Some have become mandatory among various healthcare institutions. One of the most important vaccinations is the yearly flu shot. Each year, millions of Americans become sick, and some even die from serious complications. Tetanus, measles, mumps, and rubella vaccinations are other choices that should be strongly considered.
Needle safety is one of the most critical issues for a nurse. Be alert with sharp objects to prevent any accidents. Dispose of needles or sharp objects appropriately to reduce any chance of spreading disease. There are containers provided for just that purpose, and they are easy to find in every treatment room.
Keep in mind to wear protective items to prevent contamination. This is good for both the nurse as well as the patient. Some of these items protect the face, like a mask or protective eye wear, while others go for body length protection such as gowns. Gloves keeps hands safe most of the time, but cannot keep a needle or sharp object from penetrating their material, so extra caution needs to be exercised at all times.
Everything you can do to keep safety at the forefront enhances your work environment and assists the healing process for patients. Never be afraid to implement these ideas in all areas of your life. The simplest steps, like washing your hands, can improve your health as well as the health of everyone in your life.