Working in a hospital, your main focus is often the health of your patients. You may even be letting your own health take a backseat as you give all your attention to their care. When the health of people is literally in your hands, can you afford to risk things like dehydration which can have a negative effect your concentration and cognitive function?
“Nursing is a physically and emotionally demanding profession and nursing staff can risk ill health and burn out.” Healthy workplace, healthy you
So what are the 3R’s?
The 3R’s is a campaign by the Royal College of Nursing highlighting the need for healthcare professionals to prioritise their own health on shift. There is growing evidence linking the health and wellbeing of the nursing workforce to improved patient outcomes, so with this in mind what are the three key aspects of the campaign?
Remember breaks at work are a necessity, not a luxury! In the RCN’s survey on safe and effective staffing levels, 59% of survey respondents said they did not get to take sufficient breaks on their last shift. Not only does being on your feet all shift lead to exhaustion but in emotionally demanding roles such as yours, taking regular breaks can also be vital to stress reduction and supporting your mental health.
Did you know that dehydration effects concentration? With potentially life changing decisions in your hands you need your cognitive function to be at its best. Ensure you start your shift well hydrated and remember to drink water during breaks. Caffeinated drinks can dehydrate you so you should drink more water if you have one of these.
Try to avoid starting your shift hungry as this could lead to you making poor dietary choices later on. Whilst it can be tempting to grab that chocolate bar, try to instead bring healthy snacks for slow release energy to keep you going throughout the shift. Bananas are a fantastic option for this but healthly snack bars and other fruits are also great options.
Why is this important
Have you ever heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? This concept is often portrayed in the shape of a pyramid with the most fundamental needs in the largest section at the bottom and the higher levels of self-actualisation at the top. The theory of this is that an individual’s most basic needs must be met in order for them to achieve higher levels of need.
Now we are not saying that you need to reach transcendence but in order to meet the needs of your patients, you must first meet your own needs. The bottom section identifies the physiological requirements of rest, water and food as key.
As the RCN said in their flyer about the 3R’s:
Whenever you travel on an aeroplane you will get the all-important safety briefing, and one of the key phrases they use is ‘Put your oxygen mask on first before helping others’. In other words, you can’t look after others’ safety before you have looked after your own.
Here at Bank Partners we support our staff and want to ensure they have the support needed to do their roles to the best of their ability. If you’d like to join one of our staff banks you can see all the trusts in the Bank Partners family here.