How to Stay Healthy on your Travel Nurse Assignment
Traveling is typically a fun and exciting experience, especially when it is a new destination! It never fails though that you may end up with the sniffles or even less glamorous, a stomach bug. What’s worse is getting sick when you’re away from home. Here are some ways to stay healthy while on your next travel nurse assignment and some ideas to help you live a more holistic, healthy life.
Practice what you preach. You provide care, teach patients how to care for themselves and show them how to lead healthy lifestyles. To keep you healthy, start taking your own advice. Practicing what you preach will keep you from getting sick and help you have more energy to get through the day.
Wash your hands. Of course, you already know this, but the simplest precaution to staying healthy is to wash your hands after coming into contact with patients. Sing “Happy Birthday” twice as you wash to make sure your hands are fully disinfected.
Know the signs of burn out. It is important to remember that every day you give your best and you may not always be able to fix everything all the time. Learning to let go of things you cannot control is an important skill that all healthcare providers will need to be able to do in their career. Don’t be afraid to seek counseling if you need to talk with someone. Encourage self-care and reflective activities that will help you to remember you are doing the best you can.
Make healthier decisions. Making healthier decisions can start with something simple like changing your diet. Reducing processed foods and increasing vegetable intake are also great first steps. Even though it’s hard sometimes as a nurse, skip the caffeine from your soda and coffee and drink water instead. The trick here is to start these changes at home so when you do have to travel for assignment, you are focused on the work at hand versus implementing a new habit.
Soak up nature. Not only will getting outside for a walk reduce stress, it will also reduce your chances of getting sick. Staying in makes sense when it is cold outside, but not when staying inside increases your exposure to viruses and bacteria. Given the demands of your job, it may not always be possible to go for a walk, but take every opportunity you can to soak up some sunshine and scenery around you.
Exercise. Walk, run, yoga, squats…there are tons of exercises you can do without going to a gym or using exercise equipment. Fitness apps are a great asset because most will demonstrate exercise routines and keep track of progress. Exercise is essential to keeping your energy up during the day and keeping your body and mind healthy.
Rest. Get some sleep, take a nap, or even simply close your eyes for a few moments and breathe deeply. Consider rest as something that you practice as a means of self-care throughout the day. Meditate or practice mindfulness and journal for a few moments to help you relax and de-stress.
Head to the nearest healthcare provider and/or facility should you need emergency care. We assume that you know this already, but just as you tell your patients, always seek medical care when necessary. Care providers are there for you just as you are always there for the patients you care for.
Staying healthy is certainly not limited to these ideas, but it should give you a head start on living a holistically healthy life, and remaining focused and efficient while on your next travel nurse assignment.