As you have probably noticed, we’re currently experiencing a bit of a heatwave at the moment! This may mean ice cream and sunbathing for some, but for us student nurses it isn’t much fun! From stuffy uniforms and buses hotter than hell, to rushing around ensuring patients are hydrated whilst being dehydrated yourself.
So what the the top tips for staying cool in a heatwave?
- Sun cream!! Especially if you’re on community or commute via walking/cycling.
- Keep hydrated***. It’s obvious, and we all harp on about it, but the day will drag more and the heat will hit you harder if you don’t keep drinking cold water or juice. Make sure you have a bottle or jug nearby to remind you, or drink with your patients so you both get the benefit!
- Don’t over-exert yourself. You are the most important person to take care of in your life! Make sure you take regular little breaks for drinks + a sit down. I know it can be hard, but you’re no use to your patients if you aren’t on top form!
- Change into your uniform when you get to placement. It prevents you starting your shift in a sweaty mess, and allows your body to cool down on your way home.
- Avoid too much caffeine. I know this sounds barbaric (I can’t survive a shift without coffee) but caffeine is a diuretic. That means you’re going to the toilet more, which leads to more water loss. Try not to overdo the coffee intake!
- Try and get some sleep! Nothing is going to make a hot day longer + harder than lack of sleep. If you need a fan, get one! I know I couldn’t cope without mine.
- ***Know the signs. Dehydration can be bad news, whether its staff or patients. Make sure you know the signs (headache, dry mouth, not urinating a lot) and keep an eye out. Let someone know if you or a patient is suffering.
Have you been coping with the heat? Send us any tips/tricks via email, Facebook or Twitter !
So I was planning my first day on placement…
I had my uniform ironed, lunch packed with a water bottle and Practice Assessment Document (PAD) in bag. My pin on watch, name badge and the RCN pin I got when I joined the union were set out on my dresser ready.
But what would I need in my pockets? A pen – definitely, a spare pen – probably…no definitely. My pocket usuals: lip balm and tissues, of course. A small notebook also seemed like a good idea – and it was. There will be lots of drugs and acronyms that you’ve never heard of and with no where to note them down they’ll go in one ear and out the other. You’ll also be given a tonne of door codes to get into the clinical room, the sluice, the linen cupboard and so on.
As you progress through your training and depending on where you are placed you’ll pick up other bits and bobs like a pen torch, blunt ended scissors and a bottle of alcohol gel (essential if you’re out in the community visiting patients’ homes).
Anti-Vom is the New Chic
A very important part of our nursing uniform is our shoes. Nursing is as much a physical sport as it is a caring vocation so you need comfortable, durable and sturdy footwear to withstand your days spent pacing a ward. Not to mention the elements they are exposed to… (Let’s just say there are things worse than mud that can end up dripping onto your unsuspecting foot) as the Uni has put it:
Appropriate shoes must be worn. These must be black, flat soled, full shoes not boots, which cover the entire foot, have a non slip rubber sole, and be plain (not suede or canvas). It is not acceptable to wear any other type of shoe.
I have invested in some “King Health’s” on my last visit to Hong Kong (setting me back a good £3.70) which do have a slight clown-esque/butch police officer look to them but hey, they are outrageously comfy and have protected me more times than I would care to note from flying unwanted substances. So definitely a key part of your nursing arsenal is 1 pair of sturdy and preferably unattractive shoes.