The act of saving the life of another person has never been a part of someone’s day-to-day activity. In fact, most people are terrified of being in a position that involves keeping another person stable during the brink of death. But people in the medical field especially the ones that are tied to the emergency department, often run into situations like this. Before I decided to change my career path, I was pursuing physical therapy. I wanted to help people gain what they’ve lost during surgery, critical illnesses and tragic life changing accidents. However, I wanted a more balanced life when I have kids. So, I geared towards being a nurse and after this pandemic more and more nurses as well as other health care providers are struggling with being burnt out and being unable to balance their life the way they want it to be.
As someone who aspires to be an emergency department nurse and especially being married to one, preparing mentally and physically are important. Medical knowledge is constantly evolving, which is why continuing education is very important as well as keeping up to date with the policies at work and in the field. However, patient care is not the only education that we should be updated on. We should also be updated in the laws that could protect our own license. I often find myself reading about medical journals and keeping up with the laws when it comes to nursing. However, mental health has been a constant growth in my life. I believe that being able to have time for yourself and setting boundaries are important to saving someone’s life. That means setting boundaries with work and being able to say no when your body needs to rest. I firmly believe that to be able to react to emergencies to the best of your abilities are based on being able to think clearly and soundly in stressful situations. The person who needs our help expects that from us. So, being good to yourself is important. If you aren’t able to help yourself, how are you able to help your patient? Without adequate rest and time to yourself. You are putting everyone at risk including the staff, the patient and your license. As a nursing student, this is also important to follow. School is tough, but creating a plan to tackle assignments have always been my go- to when trying to keep my sanity in check. I believe at the start of every shift, having a plan of action will also do wonders and hopefully keep your sanity in check for most of your shift.
My background in physical therapy as a rehabilitation technician often lets me see what other people could improve on their biomechanics. I think being physically fit helps prevent injuries in the work place that could potentially end your career. One of the injuries that are common in medical staff that I often saw in the outpatient settings are a torn rotator cuffs and this is due to being unable to use proper mechanics when moving a patient or even as simple as lifting an equipment into a higher shelf. Another injury that is common is low back injury because people would lift with their backs instead of their legs especially when helping a fallen patient. This is why I would physically prepare myself by strengthening my muscles and joints so I could prevent any major injuries while working. However, physical strength is not the only thing that is important. Flexibility is also a very important when it comes body movement. I personally stretch once a day for at least ten minutes because it keeps my range of motion in every joint to its full capacity.
Being four foot and eleven inches puts me at a disadvantage. I am more prone to injury because generally my patients are taller and bigger than I am. For example, I had a patient who didn’t share his change of medication to us before starting therapy and while I was guarding him as he’s practicing his balance while walking on a balance beam, he suddenly felt dizzy and lost his footing. Luckily, the beam was on the mat and I had a gait belt on him. I caught this man into my chest and was able to support him by keeping my legs staggered and my back and core firmly engaged. If I was not staying in shape and could not properly engage the muscles that I needed in those few seconds, I would have hit my head on the exercise equipment and my patient would have been hurt as well. Fortunately, that was not the case, and I was able to get someone’s attention to help me move him.
Overall, I believe that physical activity is a great way to relieve stress which in turn good for anyone’s mental health. However, lifting weights or the constant journey to the gym is not for everyone. But going out and staying active will effectively make our day to day lives more manageable, which is important for any medical profession.