Hey everybody, I thought today that I would give you a brief insight into my daily work-life and routine and explain to you why a disciplined approach to looking after yourself and using the correct shoes and other equipment is so important to your health and well-being. This should also give you some idea why nurses tend to suffer so much with sore feet, back pain and Plantar Fasciitis. I have suffered discomfort and pain in my lower back and feet for such a long time that I didn’t think I’d ever be free of it but I have managed to improve my situation in a big way by having the correct footwear and following certain practices. This is why I have created this post today – A day in the life of a nurse – Why I need comfy shoes for nurses – as to give you an insight into how to incorporate some of these practices into your routine as well and hopefully it benefits you in some way.
The beginning of the day – 0530 Alarm
From the following account of the day of my most recent shift at work it will be quite easy to gain an insight of the strain that we nurse’s put our feet, legs and backs under on every shift. I usually work 3 – 4 busy shifts per week as well as running after 2 very active children and my husband so I have a real need for comfy supportive shoes in my life.
The 05.30 alarm goes off and before I even get out of bed in the morning I am already thinking about the best way to start my day. My Husband Peter suffers from Plantar Fasciitis in a big way, I’ve had it on occasion myself and it’s always worse in the mornings, so before I get up I do my morning foot stretches and I find that spending this few minutes in the morning, really helps to ease the pain and stops me hobbling around like an old woman for the rest of the day. It’s then a quick shower to invigorate me and then a bite for breakfast. I then get dressed and put on my scrubs and my Skechers Flex Appeal 2.0 shoes and I grab my bag and my coffee and I’m off to work.
My shift starts at 0700 and after a 30-minute handover it’s straight into it. My ward is a very busy surgical ward that admits medical outliers some times, so you never know what awaits you for the day. We also accept emergency admissions directly to the ward from all over the city, so one day is generally never the same as the next.
0800 – Drug round and meeting my patient’s for the day
Steps so far – 1000
I’m usually in charge of the ward when I’m on shift, so not only do I have my own patient’s, I also oversee everyone else’s patient’s. Before I start the ward work I allocate staffing for the ward and our day case unit. Our ward is spread out and very LONG! and before 0815 I have been up and down the full length of the ward at least 5 times sorting out staffing issues and finding lost patient’s, that may have decided to hide in the day room before surgery.
After making sure that everyone has a home for the day it’s time for me to start my work for my patient’s. As I’m in charge I usually only have 8 patient’s to care for, this can be a mixture of pre-ops, post-ops, medically unwell, surgical and medical outliers. Drug round now completed I have to run up to the day case unit as it’s being run by a Band 4 who cannot dispense medications. After all pre-meds in day case are administered I have to go back to the ward office to speak to the bed managers about our availability for the day. Then it’s back to my patient’s, I have 3 post-ops, 2 pre-ops and 3 patients that are unwell. One of my patient’s has to go for a USS ( ultrasound ) and after preparing her I can’t find anyone to escort her to the clinic for the scan so I take her to the clinic myself.
Back to the ward and I’m just about to start a post op wash when I’m called to the office for a meeting with the managers regarding the hospitals bed status – there are no beds and 97 waiting in the ED ( emergency department ) so all routine major surgery is to be cancelled today. Luckily the managers are telling the patient’s who are cancelled, but I then have to go behind them offering tea, toast and a sympathetic ear whilst running back and forwards to the office to get alternative dates for surgery.
1030 – Morning break time – Steps so far 3500
So it’s been a busy first part of the morning and the girls and boys who are working today are in need of a well-earned break. We start morning breaks at around this time, but it means having to cover for others whilst they are on break. It’s now that I realize I haven’t had a drink since around 0730 this morning. Luckily I have recently bought 2 new drinks bottles. One for hot drinks and one for cold. The hot drink flask mug keeps my coffee piping hot for about 6 hours so it’s ideal for grabbing a sip when I can when I’m in the office. But my absolute saviour is my cold drink bottle. It holds 750mls and is perfect for keeping in the office or at a work station I’m at and helps to keep me hydrated throughout the day. I found that before I got this bottle I wasn’t drinking enough throughout the day and would suffer cramp in my lower legs and was going home of an evening and suffering from terrible dehydration headaches. I am happy to report that because of my bottle I no longer experience either of those things.
It’s at this point that we have our first emergency admission of the day. A lady is admitted miscarrying and bleeding heavily. On admission her BP is 70/45 with an EBL of around 100mls and she’s still bleeding.
Cannulas inserted, bloods taken and, fluids commenced when the doctor arrives to examine her. The lady needs to be rushed to theatre and now!. We run her around to theatre which very luckily is just down the corridor. Once in theatre they manage to stop the bleeding and after a blood transfusion and close monitoring she is returned to the ward later in the afternoon. On my return from theatre I go to find her partner who is shaken and shell-shocked. I take him to the quiet room and we spend some time having a chat and after a strong cup of tea and lots of reassurance he’s feeling a lot better.
Back to the ward as it’s time to finish my post-op washes. My amazing HCA’s have done 2 of the washes for me so there is only 1 left, but this lady is the trickiest. She has a large BMI and suffers with chronic back pain and her being in bed for the last 20hrs has not helped at all. I go to check that she has had all the analgesia that she is due but her drug chart is missing, it was there when I did the drug round!
After finally finding it in the hands of the pharmacist who is wandering around the ward I manage to give my patient the meds and we start washing her. It takes 3 of us as she is a struggle to move and is constantly pulling on us after the wash and I now can feel the strain on my back. After this I know I have to go and do some stretches or I know It will turn into much worse back pain later in the day. I go and take 5 minutes off of the ward to do my stretches to relieve the pain and the tightness and on completion I feel much looser. My stretching regime can pretty much be done anywhere but I find it easier to do in a quiet place.
1230 – Still no break! – Steps so far 5847
All staff on the ward have had their morning break except for me. But we have to celebrate the little victories when we can and at least everyone else has had a break. Just as I’m going to go on my break the early pregnancy clinic brings up a patient who is a possible ruptured ectopic. Her obs are stable but she is acutely tender and after examination, it is decided that she should go to theatre today. As she seems stable she doesn’t have to be rushed so I find her a bed space and settle her in. It’s all a bit of a shock for her as she only found out she was pregnant the day before after 4 years of trying. Bless her. It’s very emotionally draining looking after patient’s with such sad background stories.
No time for a break now as I have to go to the main hospital for the bed meeting. In the meeting it was decided that we will have a further 6 outliers due to the bed crisis, so back to the ward to rearrange things so that we have an empty bay after a 6 point bed move and now I have time for a quick break.
It’s now 1345 and I am eating for the first time of the day. Due to the nature of my work I find it easier to bring lots of healthy snacky food to work as sometime’s I don’t have the opportunity to sit and have a full break so I have to grab something quickly. Whenever I get a break I will do some stretches to loosen up and keep my legs, feet and back from tightening and make sure I hydrate by drinking plenty of water.
1400 – Emergency clinic – Steps so far 8670
We run an emergency HOT clinic every afternoon. Today this clinic involved a lot of running back and forwards to the clinic with patient’s for scans and reviews. An extra member of staff has come on to the late shift to take my patient’s from this morning, so that this afternoon I can concentrate on the clinic and the emergency patient’s.
We have 8 patient’s in clinic who all need assessing, before a treatment plan is put in place. We tend to have more GP referrals in the afternoon as well. Half way through the afternoon I have to go to the ED to assess a patient’s suitability for transfer to us. After running over and walking around the emergency department twice I finally find her. After assessing her I decide that she is suitable to be discharged and instructed to return to the early pregnancy clinic in the morning. I go back to the ward via the clinic to drop in her notes ready for the morning.
On return to the ward the outliers begin to arrive from other wards. We proceed to put them in the bay we have previously cleared and get them settled in. I then have to go to the day case unit and give more meds and discharge patient’s.
1700 – Clinic ends – Steps so far 11460
The clinic has finished but we still have 4 patient’s remaining to sort out from the clinic. The ectopic that was admitted earlier in the day wasn’t able to be done in our theatre so has to be transferred to the main hospital. I escort her to theatre and take a leisurely stroll back. It’s actually lovely to be outside, the sun is shining and the weather is beautiful and it’s the first time in the day that I’ve noticed how nice it is outside. This little stroll back to the ward gives me an opportunity to reflect on the days events.
I feel that it is important to take time out of the day to look after your emotional well-being and sometimes just a few minutes of quiet contemplation is all that it takes to clear the mind. Feeling refreshed I return to the ward, afternoon breaks have started so I cover patient’s, to allow other staff to have their meal breaks.
Eventually I get the opportunity to have my break but there is still so much that needs doing that I take my paperwork with me and do that whilst eating my dinner. I prefer to do that than stay late as I want to get home to see my precious ones before they go to bed.
Halfway through my break the emergency bell is pulled. I run out to see what the emergency is to find it is a false alarm so I return to my break. Unfortunately though the horrible sick feeling that you get every time the emergency bell goes off won’t settle and I’ve lost my appetite because of it, so I head back to get ready for handover.
1900 – Night staff handover
The night staff are here and I’m glad tom see them. It’s been a long day. Handover of patient’s complete and it’s time to head home. It’s actually been a nice day, it’s had some stressful time’s but working with a good team makes it so much easier and I work with the best people.
As we are leaving I start talking to a newly qualified staff nurse who has only been on the ward for a few months and is still struggling at times. We work in a very stressful and emotionally charged unit and it can be a daunting environment for the inexperienced and newly qualified. I feel that it is important to chat with each other and to provide support and to recognize people that are struggling and try to offer assistance and guidance where you can. Before I leave for the evening I emailed our ward manager just to let her know that I was concerned that this new member of our team was struggling a bit with hopes we could keep an eye on her and offer her the support and encouragement that she needs.
Shift complete – Home to relax and recharge
Total steps for the day – 17450
It’s the end of the day and I’ve walked 17450 steps. I won’t tell you that my feet and legs aren’t tired as it’s been along day, but the thing is they don’t hurt or ache anymore, not since I’ve been wearing the right shoes and keeping up with the stretches, making sure I eat healthily and keeping myself hydrated. I’m now off home to see my children and then it will be time for a hot shower to wash away the work day, then time to switch off from work and relax.
I feel like I have taken up enough of your time with this post already, so I will just say please check out the other posts on my site especially the one about how to relax after work as it does tie into this post a little bit. I hope this gives you an insight as to why we nurses need the correct comfy shoes, the importance of doing stretching exercises and keeping ourselves hydrated.
If you have any questions or need a hand with anything please leave a comment in the box or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will try to answer you or help you the best I can.