You’ve just been hired for a new job in healthcare. Your new position involves working in a hospital in your area. It doesn’t matter whether you are working as a doctor, as a nurse, as a therapist, as a medical coder, or as a receptionist in patient scheduling or patient registration. If you work in a hospital, and you interact with patients at any level throughout the day, you have to take steps to keep yourself healthy, not only for the sake of your patients, but for the sake of yourself, your friends, and your family members as well. Staying healthy means walking a fine line between balancing your responsibilities in terms of caring for other people’s health with taking care of your own health. The unfortunate truth is that you have a lot working against you. Since the vast majority of patients are sick people, since they are coming to the hospital, this means exposing yourself to numerous communicable diseases and conditions, especially if you interact with patients, as well as other staff members.
Here are some things you can do to try to minimize your risk of getting sick in the hospital (and consequently becoming a patient yourself):
- Wash your hands regularly.
- Consider getting more vaccines, in addition to the ones required by the hospital.
- Practice good sleep hygiene. Go to bed at the same time (or close to the same time) every night, including on weekends, so as not to break your sleep cycle. Get up at the same time every morning to establish your circadian rhythm and waking up on time without needing to use an alarm clock.
- Eat a nutritious diet.
- Exercise regularly. At least 150 minutes a week for moderate exercise and at least 75 minutes a week for vigorous exercise.
Hospital Work Can Be Stressful
If you are new to working in a hospital, it means not only opening yourself up to potential physical illnesses but also opening yourself up to potential mental issues as well, in the form of stress. Although for some positions, a stressful job with long work hours typically “goes with the territory,” so to speak, some jobs are more stressful than others, especially in the hospital setting.
Work stress is associated with a number of physical and medical issues, including:
- Weight gain, possibly leading to obesity.
- Stomach problems.
- High blood pressure.
- Headaches or migraines, depending on your stress level.
- Fatigue or insomnia.
- High cholesterol.
- Worsening health conditions that may already exist, apart from working in the hospital setting.
Stress on the job is also associated with mental health issues such as:
- Inability to focus.
- Drug and alcohol use.
If you work in a hospital, you may be more susceptible to the effects of stressful situations, especially if your work involves caring for patients in life-or-death situations.
Maintaining healthy exercise and eating habits can help you minimize the effects of physical illness and work-related stress, especially if your stress involves making decisions on behalf of patients in crucial situations where time is of the essence. Maintaining a healthy personal life outside of work can also help you operate at maximum efficiency when you’re on the job. Starting a new job in a new hospital means a fresh opportunity to start off right.
Also consider doing deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, and other relaxation techniques to stay balanced, focused, stress-free (to the greatest extent possible), and most of all, on track, even if you do not work directly with patients.
Maintain a healthy social life outside of your job, that doesn’t conflict with your work schedule. Take a vacation by yourself if you choose to, without family members or friends at the beach or on a faraway resort, just to unwind, regroup, regather, and refocus.
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