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June 15, 2024
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How to Minimize Discomfort and Maximize Performance During Long Shifts

Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare system, dedicating themselves to patient care with unwavering compassion. However, the long hours spent on their feet take a toll. Prolonged standing is a significant occupational hazard, leading to both physical and mental strain.

Physical and Mental Impacts

Standing for extended periods puts a strain on the body, often resulting in musculoskeletal disorders like lower back pain, swollen legs, and stiff joints. These issues are further aggravated by the unforgiving surfaces of hospital floors. The impact doesn’t stop there. The mental fatigue and stress of relentless shifts can lead to burnout, highlighting the need for effective coping mechanisms.

Strategies for Optimal Wellbeing

Fortunately, there are ways to combat the strain of prolonged standing. Equipping yourself with proper footwear is crucial. Supportive shoes with good cushioning provide a much-needed defense against the demands of the hospital environment. Be on the lookout for specialized work shoes for men and women. Staying hydrated is essential, as it helps fight muscle fatigue and strain.

Even short breaks can make a big difference. Stepping away for a few minutes allows nurses to recharge and prevents the negative effects of constant standing. Incorporating simple stretches and light movement into these breaks goes a long way in relieving physical tension, promoting circulation, and maintaining flexibility. Anti-fatigue mats are another valuable tool, offering significant relief for tired feet and mitigating the strain of standing on hard surfaces.

Ergonomics plays a vital role as well. By frequently alternating between sitting and standing tasks, nurses can minimize the physical toll on their bodies.

A Supportive Work Environment

Beyond individual strategies, fostering a supportive work culture is key. Hospitals and medical facilities need to prioritize resources and education on ergonomics and injury prevention. This empowers nurses to take charge of their well-being and provides them with the knowledge to protect themselves from work-related injuries. Open communication channels are also essential, allowing nurses to voice concerns and creating an environment of understanding and support.

Investing in the Future of Nursing

The high nurse turnover rates and nationwide shortages highlight the need to prioritize nurse well-being. A multifaceted approach is necessary to ensure a healthy and resilient nursing workforce. By implementing practical coping strategies and fostering a supportive work environment, we can create a system where nurses can provide exceptional care with enduring strength and vitality.

Looking for more resources?

Check out the accompanying resource from Dansko to learn more about the impact of prolonged standing on nurses and discover additional solutions. Not a nurse? Share with your fellow healthcare workers!

Infographic created by Dansko

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