How Do Nurses on PPE Overcome Heat?
It’s finally arrived, sunlight, lovely sunshine! After one of the wettest Mays on record and a chilly, gloomy winter punctuated by never-ending lockdowns, it appeared as if we’d never see the sun again. The coming of warmer weather, on the other hand, comes a slew of new problems for nurses and healthcare workers.
Aside from the slew of new patient injuries caused by the summer’s frivolities, the heat poses a number of obstacles for nurses wearing PPE. Wearing PPE for lengthy periods of time in hot weather is widely recognized to be exceedingly unpleasant and can lead to heat stress, exhaustion, and other heat-related disorders. This is obviously a worry for nurses working long shifts on crowded wards, as well as the patients they care for.
In this brief article, we’ll look at how nurses wearing PPE might manage heat and discomfort while on shift, as well as what expectations they can have of the healthcare provider for which they work.
How companies may assist nurses who are wearing PPE?
Our clients are legally compelled to take precautions to reduce the risk of injury or sickness associated with working in the heat. While there is no law governing minimum or maximum working temperatures, employers must follow health and safety regulations, which include:
- Maintaining a suitable temperature.
- Supplying clean and fresh air.
- Access to suitable restrooms and drinking water/fluids.
- Access to restrooms and the opportunity to take breaks.
- Take regular breaks during the shift.
If the temperature in the office isn’t pleasant, you should bring it up with your boss.
Reminders and Tips For Staying Cool on the Job
Nurses wearing PPE can take a variety of actions to assist minimize the symptoms of heat stress while at work. We’ve divided our recommendations into two sections: actions to take before starting your shift and steps to take while on shift.
Before beginning a shift
You’ve probably heard the adage “fail to prepare, prepare to fail,” right? This is especially true when getting ready to work a lengthy shift in the heat. What you do before work has a major influence on how your shift goes.
- Stay hydrated by drinking lots of fluids throughout your time off from work.
- Limit the quantity of alcohol you consume before going to work.
- Drink plenty of cold water before applying PPE.
- Between shifts, cool down, relax, and hydrate. Heat stress can be exacerbated by repeated exposure.
- Exercise can help you improve your aerobic fitness.
- Acclimate your body to the heat gradually to reduce your core temperature. Working in the heat for at least an hour every day for seven days will result in acclimatization.
While on shift
Nursing shifts may be long and hectic. However, it is critical that you take necessary precautions to assist cope with the impacts of heat while working, or else heat stress and weariness may knock on your door very fast. Using just a couple of these ideas throughout your shift should help you handle the heat while also keeping your mind bright and focused.
- Take frequent, brief pauses. Make an effort to remove your mask whenever possible.
- Keep hydrated! Drink frequently and in little amounts throughout your shift, rather than waiting until you’re thirsty. Keep a bottle or jug nearby to remind you to drink more.
- Caffeine should be avoided. Caffeinated beverages cause increased water loss and dehydration.
- Calm down. Use cold water or a cooling spray to clean your face and the back of your neck.
- Examine your urine. Urine that is dark and stinky indicates that you need to consume more water.
- Keep the blinds closed. Keep working areas dark and free of direct sunshine.
- Wear comfortable clothes. Scrubs, which are thin and loose, might be a nice alternative.
These are just a few fast and easy ways for nurses wearing PPE to remain cool and manage heat stress while on duty. Adopting some of these strategies into your daily routine will enhance your experience working in hot weather while still allowing you to stay professional. Active and hydrated agency nurses generally feel more enthusiastic at work, and the physical demands of the job take less toll on active muscles. Do you have any personal recommendations for dealing with the heat at work?
If you’re a Community Nurse, Registered General Nurse, or Emergency Nurse Practitioner interested in working as an agency nurse with the United States’ premier nursing agency, register today.