Not only is it currently Cardiovascular Professionals Week, but February is American Heart Month. With long shifts spent on their feet, travel nurses often forget to think about their own health and well-being (especially when the job description involves constantly doing this for others).
They might be bursting at the seams with medical knowledge, but the increased awareness about cardiovascular health this month might encourage some nurses to think through their own heart health. These are five common questions travel nurses can ask themselves, and respond accordingly – even with the busy schedules travel nurses are known for.
QUIZ: As a travel nurse, what is your go-to tactic for heart health?
1. Do fitness trackers actually make you fitter?
If you don’t already have one, then you’ve definitely seen one of these brightly colored wristbands counting steps. The appeal is no mystery – fitness trackers can consistently motivate users to move throughout the day (not really a problem for nurses, moving is the job). But are these fitness trackers actually getting you in better shape? If you’re already wearing one of these devices, or considering buying one, you might want to read the research first.
2. If I’m interested in fitness, how do I choose the right app for me?
Nurses (especially travel nurses) don’t often have the time to attend organized fitness classes at a gym. In fact, joining a gym can prove to be a waste of hard-earned money if you can’t devote the time to going. Luckily, if you have a smart phone or tablet, you can have a personalized gym experience right from your own den. Check out these apps and choose the one that fits your exercise style.
3. What effect does stress really have on my heart health?
Few jobs have the potential for as much stress as nursing does. As a medical professional, you already know that stress can raise your cholesterol – but stress might be more harmful to your heart health than you think. Some stresses are just part of the job, but try coming up with ways you can decrease your stress – whether its meditation techniques or simply slowing down as much as your schedule will allow. This research might convince you to de-stress for your cholesterol’s sake.
4. It’s been a long day, what are some easy heart healthy recipes?
Pretty much anyone can agree – food is good. And sometimes when you have very little time for yourself between shifts, fast food can seem like the easy answer. But as you well know, it’s not the best for your health (hello, sodium!). Getting to the grocery store and spending time cooking isn’t easy, but with a little planning and motivation, you can make better-tasting and healthier food than that drive-thru can ever hand you through your car window. Try these recipes for heart health!
Lacking the motivation? You can Take the Pledge through the American Heart Association – you’ll be provided resources, recipes, accountability and more.
5. Why is going to the doctor is just as important for me as it is for my patients?
You’re a nurse, and you know how important it is to go to the doctor – in fact, you’ve likely seen some extreme cases of what happens when someone puts it off for too long. Though you have the knowledge, you don’t always have the follow-through just like anyone else. Sure, you are in a position to check your blood pressure, BMI and cholesterol more frequently than a lay person, but you should still make regular check-ups. This can prove difficult for travel nurses, who may not have a GP since they’re on the road throughout the year. The benefits of being a travel nurse? You might be able get in with a GP in your hospital’s network wherever you are – just give yourself a reminder once a year to set it up! Read this and you’ll be convinced.
Are you or a friend interested in travel nursing? Sign up through our refer-a-friend program, and you could see a $500 pay day just for passing along a referral!