Your Personal Health Care
Nurses can be the worst patients and their own worst enemies when it comes to their own health status. It's usually easier to tell someone else how and what to do than it is to do it yourself, but nurses need to take care of themselves. With all the added mental and physical job-related stress taking a toll on their bodies, maintaining wellness is an important issue.
Just as you instruct your patients, you need to schedule routine exams and not skip appointments. It's not always easy to schedule them around work, but if you make a concerted effort, sometimes you can squeeze a couple of appointments into one day. Get your checkups and see the doctor if you're sick. It's important to have a physical once a year and to have a Pap smear and mammogram or prostate examination. You also need to see your dentist and have your teeth cleaned every six months.
Your car doesn't run very well if you never change the oil and then let the fluids run dry. Just about the time you really depend on it to get you somewhere, the old hose or worn tire will blow. The human body is a finely developed machine and if you don't keep it tuned, it will fail you. This is not something new, nor should it be rocket science to nurses. However, sometimes it seems that way!
If you get sick, please be sure to see your physician. There are many nosocomial infections and diseases taking their toll on nurses these days. Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) are going to become more troublesome. How many nurses have colonies of MRSA in their nasal passages?
Standard precautions and personal protective equipment when used appropriately can protect health care professionals and other patients from the spread of most diseases. How many nurses do you know who play Russian roulette every day because they become complacent with hand washing and gloving?
The fear of AIDS and HIV seems to have died down, and unfortunately nurses have become lax in their precautions. The spread of hepatitis C and MRSA are on the rise. Nurses must be diligent in protecting themselves as well as their families. The nurses are not just the ones being infected, they can be carriers as well and not just to other patients but to their own families and friends.
Just as you cannot provide the best of care when you are emotionally and physically drained from stress, when you are ill you will not be providing the best care either. Take the time to be proactive in your own preventative health care issues and set an example for your patients, friends, and family.