Being among some of the most rewarding positions, being a healthcare traveler doesn’t come without its risks. Healthcare professionals are exposed to many risks some of them even life-changing. In 2014, workers in hospitals sustained an estimated 294,000 nonfatal work-related injuries and illnesses.
Being in healthcare requires tough, intelligent individuals to tackle some of the most delicate time-sensitive work, most of which is life changing. In order to keep your patients and yourself safe, take a look at a few tips to help you during your shift.
Wash your Hands.
Handwashing can be as effective as a vaccine and only involves five simple steps (Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, Dry). Regular hand washing, particularly before and after handling patients, eating, opening doors, etc. is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick and prevent the spread of germs to others. 80% of communicable diseases are transferred by touch. While sanitizer is readily available at most turns in a hospital, it’s no substitute for a good hand scrub. Keep yourself and your patients safe, by washing your hands as often as possible.
Get Plenty of Sleep
More than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis. Sleep deprivation can impair job performance and increase risk for worker errors and injuries. Errors made by fatigued healthcare workers can also endanger patients. Sleep deprivation endangers both workers and others on the road during commutes to and from work. When you’re exhausted and haven’t given yourself adequate sleep, you’re putting yourself and your patients at risk. It’s suggested that adults get 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
Use Lift/Transfer Equipment When Moving Patients
It’s a known fact, that one of the highest risks in patient handling is a patient transfer. Patient handling/transferring is performed differently in many settings and unfortunately, there isn’t a “fix-all” solution for everyone. Factors such as the patient’s weight, transfer distance, patient behavior and awkward positions such as stooping, bending and reaching significantly contribute to the risk of performing patient handling tasks. Of all patient handling injury reports, 62% included data on the use of lifting equipment. Of those, a stunning 82% occurred when patient lifting and handling equipment was not used. Using the equipment available to you in your department is key to avoiding as many issues as possible. Always ask for help and ensure that precautions are taken seriously.
Hospitals across the US are asking or requiring that their healthcare workers get vaccinated for the flu virus. Being in an environment where illness and disease are constant, this is just another precaution to keep yourself and your patients safe. It would be unfortunate if someone were seeking care only to end up contracting the virus from a healthcare professional treating them. The CDC reports healthcare workers in settings where employees are required to get the flu vaccine, around 96.5% opt to get vaccinated rather than risk being fired.
Keep Yourself Healthy
Another way to keep yourself and your patients safe is by staying at peak performance. Keep up with an exercise routine and manage your stress as much as possible. You’re paid to care for the health of others, but even with the best of intentions, medical professionals have been known to let their own health fall by the wayside. Practice remaining accountable by creating meal plans, exercise schedules and strict, work-night bedtimes. Take a look at some of our recent suggestions on how to eat healthy while traveling.
Triage Staffing is dedicated to keeping our travelers safe and we know that you’re keeping your patients safe. If you enjoyed this post please subscribe to our newsletter!