There’s no doubt that being a student nurse means putting your physical and mental health on the back burner. However, not prioritizing self-care can lead to serious health problems that could make school more difficult or even hinder you from graduating altogether.
As a nursing student, you should always pay attention to your health since nurses are sincere providers who seek to assist patients to the best of their abilities. Being healthy as a student nurse can be difficult, with the long hours and late-night shift work throwing off your natural sleep rhythms.
1. Exercise frequently
It will help you maintain a regular exercise routine while you study and work. You’ll need to be in top physical shape, and one of the best ways to do this is by exercising regularly.
The type of exercise you choose should depend on your physical needs, such as level of activity, age, sex, size/weight, and certain chronic health conditions such as heart disease or diabetes.
There are so many essential benefits to exercising regularly as a student nurse. These include maintaining well-being, helping you feel strong physically and emotionally, and being less prone to injury due to increased flexibility. The benefits are all related to your overall health as a student nurse or healthcare provider.
2. Reduce stress
As a student nurse, stress is never far from the surface. Many students who have not left their home country or are even finishing school abroad often find themselves in new environments with no family or friends to help them adjust.
Other culprits can cause stress, such as questioning your medical knowledge and whether you’re good enough for the job. Taking a few minutes every day for self-care, like taking a warm bath, watching your favorite TV show, or meditating, are some ways you can help to reduce stress.
3. Adopt healthy nutritional habits
To stay healthy as a student nurse, you must adopt healthy nutritional habits. Most importantly, ensure your diet contains a balance of protein, carbohydrates, fats, and all nine essential nutrients.
A nutritious diet is one of the best things you can do for your body. Eat breakfast daily, plan snacks and meals ahead of time, and make sure not to go too long between meals. Replace unhealthy foods (like fatty fast foods or ready meals) with healthier options that sustain you during long shifts at work or in your college classes.
4. Be conscious of burnout
Becoming a student nurse means you will be working to help others in need. This role will present you with a multitude of different types of patients, and it is essential to be able to treat them all.
Long workdays and night shifts have the potential to be draining, and your desire to help all your patients may lead to burnout. Student nurses should be aware of their energy levels, both mentally and physically, and ensure that they are not overworking themselves. Remember, the more tired or burnt out you become, the more you risk making mistakes and delivering lower-quality care. Additionally, working in healthcare means you may not have the flexibility to take long periods of time off to recuperate, so it’s essential that you maintain your health and energy, even when things get busy.
Be sure to take breaks every day to refresh and restore your energy so that you are ready for the next case.
5. Drink lots of water
A good rule of thumb is to drink an extra glass or two during the day, especially in warm weather or when thirsty. If that doesn’t work for you, get a water bottle, and fill it up at the water fountain in your hallways before class starts each day.
6. Get sleep
Sleeping enough can be challenging as a student nurse, with all the studying, classes, and late nights at the hospital that you may be partaking in. However, getting enough sleep will help you stay healthy and alert during school and work hours, helping to prevent errors that could occur when you are tired.
Sleep is essential to a healthy body. Staying up all night can result in exhaustion and a feeling of burnout. Without adequate sleep, the body’s immune system is weaker, increasing the chances of catching a disease.
At the same time, getting good quality sleep reduces stress levels, leading to better mental health. Further, it helps in recuperating from injuries.
7. Socialization with friends
A student nurse is advised to socialize with friends and family to stay healthy. For many, post-secondary education means a long separation from high school friends and family members.
If you are studying an online accelerated BSN program like the course offered at the University of Indianapolis, you may feel you’re missing out on opportunities to socialize with fellow students. While the course will give you all the training you need to become a nurse in as little as 15 months, the coursework is 100% online. This is great for any student who wants a flexible learning experience, and students can still chat and socialize with each other, albeit online.
Consider setting up group chats with your fellow students, organizing online socials and events, or, in the case that you live near other students, meeting up to socialize or discuss the course.
As a student nurse, taking care of your body and mind is essential. It is important to remember that there is no one way to stay healthy as a student nurse. You will have to balance staying on top of your health and keeping ahead in your studies.
The better you take care of yourself and make small changes in your daily life, the healthier and happier you will be. You can do this by practicing self-care, eating a balanced diet, and sleeping enough hours every night. Doing so will give you more energy to be the best student nurse you can be.